Classroom Resources: Atomic Structure


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  • Periodic Table, Elements, History, Atomic Mass, Atomic Theory, Isotopes, Subatomic Particles, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Periodic Table and Transuranium Elements

    In this lesson, students will learn about the transuranium elements through reading about some of their discoveries. There are a series of activities to help promote literacy in the science classroom related to the reading. This lesson could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided.

  • Atoms, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Matter, Elements, History, Introduction, Periodic Table | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Animation: Atoms: The Building Blocks of Matter Animation

    In this animation, students will be introduced to the idea that everything is made of atoms, and that since atoms are so extremely small, even small objects contain vast numbers of atoms. They will see several examples to illustrate this point. Then they will be given a brief overview of the evolution of how people thought about atoms from the ancient Greeks through Dalton.

  • Atoms, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Animation Activity: Building Blocks of Matter

    In this activity, students will view an animation that introduces them to the idea that everything is made of atoms, and that since atoms are so extremely small, even small objects contain vast numbers of atoms. They will see several examples to illustrate this point. Then they will be given a brief overview of the evolution of how people thought about atoms from the ancient Greeks through Dalton.

  • Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Orbitals , History, Matter | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Modeling Atomic Theories with Food

    In this lesson, students will create an initial model of an atom (using various food items) drawing from the knowledge that they brought into the class. They will then use the same materials to work through an interactive note-taking lesson on how the model of the atom evolved over time. Having completed the interactive notes, the students return to their original models and adjust as needed.

  • Emission Spectrum, Atomic Spectra, Electrons, Atomic Theory, Emission Spectrum, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Identifying an Unknown | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lab: Emissions of Light

    In this lab, students will examine three different ways to excite electrons to produce visible light found in the electromagnetic spectrum. The students will then see that this visible light has a specific color, wavelength, and frequency. They will use their knowledge of the speed of light and plank's equation to examine the energy involved in the emission of light. Finally, the students will then apply their knowledge of the emission spectrum to how the composition of stars is determined.

  • Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, Electron Configuration, Electrons, Valence Electrons, Orbitals , Subatomic Particles, Atomic Radius, Ionization Energy | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Bohr Model vs. Quantum Mechanical Model

    In this activity, students will compare two models of the atom using cognitive scaffolding to move from the more simplistic Bohr model to the more abstract and accurate quantum mechanical model. They will examine experimental data and use it to explain periodic trends that cannot be accounted for with the Bohr model.

  • Atomic Radius, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory, History, Inferences | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Indirectly Measuring the Atom

    In this lesson, students will try to determine the radius of one circle and the total area of multiple circles on a piece of paper by indirect measurement. They will relate this to the experiment done by Ernest Rutherford in which he bombarded a gold foil with Alpha particles.

  • Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, History | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Demonstration: The Hoopla about Atoms

    In this demonstration, students use a hula hoop that has a ball in the center (hung from a string) to simulate Rutherford’s gold foil experiment.

  • Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, Isotopes, Ions, Atomic Spectra, Emission Spectrum, Orbitals , Electrons | High School

    Lesson Plan: Atomic Structure Unit Plan

    The AACT high school classroom resource library has everything you need to put together a unit plan for your classroom: lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations. We constructed a unit plan using AACT resources that is designed to teach Atomic Structure to your students.

  • Periodic Table, History, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, Atomic Mass, Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Mendeleev Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a video and answer questions about Dimitri Mendeleev. They will learn about his contribution to chemistry, including his organization of the periodic table and awareness to leave gaps for elements that weren’t yet discovered.

  • Atomic Theory, Orbitals , Electrons, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, History | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Neils Bohr Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching a video about Niels Bohr and learn how he redefined thinking about the atom and the electron. His model of the atom advanced our understanding of subatomic particles and holds an important place in the history and development of atomic theory.

  • Atomic Theory, Subatomic Particles, Model of the Atom, History | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Ernest Rutherford Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a video about Ernest Rutherford. They will learn about his great contributions to chemistry, including his study of alpha particles and his use of the gold foil experiment. They will also find out that he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his studies on radioactive substances.

  • Radioactive Isotopes, Atomic Theory, History, Pros Cons of Nuclear Power, Radiation, Subatomic Particles | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Lise Meitner Video Questions

    In this activity, students will complete a short series of questions as they watch the Founders of Chemistry video about Lise Meitner. The video tells the story of Lise Meitner, a pioneering female scientist in the field of nuclear chemistry, who was denied a Nobel Prize but has an Element named in her honor.

  • Pros Cons of Nuclear Power, Radiation, Radioactive Isotopes, Atomic Theory, Atoms, History | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Video: Lise Meitner Video

    This video tells the story of Lise Meitner, a pioneering female scientist in the field of nuclear chemistry, who was denied a Nobel Prize but has an Element named in her honor.

  • Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, History | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Project: The Scientists Behind the Atom

    In this project, students will create a digital (or paper) book about the scientists who contributed to our understanding of the atom.

  • Subatomic Particles, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Investigating the Sizes of Atomic Particles

    In this lab, students will use yarn and peas to compare the sizes of the three subatomic particles and will see that most of an atom is empty space.

  • Atomic Theory, Electrons, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, History | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Video: Niels Bohr Video

    This video tells the story of Niels Bohr, a great scientist who redefined how we think about atoms and the electron. Bohr’s model of the atom helped to advance understanding of subatomic particles, and holds an important place in the history and development of the atomic theory.

  • Radioactive Isotopes, History, Subatomic Particles, Model of the Atom, Atomic Theory | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Video: Ernest Rutherford Video

    Rutherford's initial research was studying alpha particles, which he hypothesized were helium nuclei. With the help of Hans Geiger, Rutherford conducted the gold foil experiment, which justifies that the nucleus of an atom is a dense collection of protons and contains the majority of an atom’s mass. It also inferred that most of the atom is empty space and electrons are not located in the nucleus. He won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908 for his studies on radioactive substances.

  • Atomic Mass, Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, Periodic Table, History | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Video: Dimitri Mendeleev Video

    This video tells the story of how Dimitri Mendeleev organized the periodic table, even leaving gaps to be filled in with elements that weren't yet discovered.

  • Atomic Theory, History, Interdisciplinary, Culminating Project, Model of the Atom | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Scientist Infographic

    In this activity, students will design and publish an infographic focused on a well-known scientist and their contribution to the development of the atomic model.

  • Atomic Theory, Law of Conservation of Energy, Electrons, Electromagnetic Spectrum | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Simulation Activity: Exciting Electrons

    In this simulation, students will explore what happens when electrons within a generic atom are excited from their ground state. This is a qualitative investigation, not meant to mimic any particular atom.

  • Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, Ions, Isotopes, Atoms, Atomic Mass | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Simulation Activity: Building an Atom

    In this simulation, students manipulate the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an element and determine how these effect the mass number, atomic number, and other properties of an atom.

  • Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Isotopes, Atomic Theory, History, Elements | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Atomic Structure RAFT

    In this activity, students choose from a number of activity options in order to best display their understanding of atomic structure. The RAFT model will be followed for this assignment, which means the students choose their assignment and may modify the assignment based on Role, Audience, Format, and Topic.

  • Emission Spectrum, Emission Spectrum, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Atoms, Atomic Theory, Model of the Atom | High School

    Lesson Plan: Modeling Energy in Chemistry: Energy and the Electron

    This activity is designed for students to build a scientific argument about the relationship between energy and spectral lines by exploring how light interacts with atoms. In the process, students will examine proposed models of the hydrogen atom and use collected data to analyze the proposed models. They will then select one of the models and write a scientific argument to support their choice. Students will then review additional data to support and/or refute their selection. Based on their analysis, students will revise their selected model and construct a new argument to support their revisions.  

  • Atomic Theory, Law of Conservation of Energy, Electrons, Electromagnetic Spectrum | High School

    Simulation: Exciting Electrons

    In the March 2015 issue, students explore what happens when electrons within a generic atom are excited from their ground state. They will see that when an electron relaxes from an excited state to its ground state, energy is released in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

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