Classroom Resources: Atomic Structure


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  • Atomic Radius, Atoms, Ionic Radius, Subatomic Particles, Periodic Table | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Animation Activity: Atomic & Ionic Radii

    In this activity, students will use an animation to visualize atomic and ionic radii. They will look at the different sizes of atoms in the third period and the atoms in the sixth group to see trends across periods and down groups. They will also look at an atom and its corresponding cation as well as an atom and its corresponding anion.

  • Molecular Structure, Covalent Bonding, Molecular Formula, Review, Atoms | Middle School, Elementary School

    Activity: Atom Catcher Game

    In this activity, students will make several different molecules out of four types of atoms: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen in an online game. In order to be successful, the student must move a beaker on the screen to catch the correct type and number of atoms needed to form a particular molecule. Students can score points by making as many correct molecules as possible in a given amount of time.

  • 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.

  • Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Valence Electrons, Lewis Dot Diagrams, Electron Configuration, Physical Properties | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Project: Atomic Holiday Ornaments

    In this project, students will design an atomic holiday ornament for a chosen element, along with a certificate of authenticity to display on a “Chemis-tree”. Students will also have the opportunity to vote on the ornaments created by their classmates.

  • 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.

  • Electron Transfer, Electrons, Electricity, Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Observations | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Understanding Static Electricity

    In this lesson, students will complete a series of activities to explore how the imbalance of charges in materials creates static electricity and how those materials interact with others around them. They will describe the relationship between atomic structure, specifically the role of protons and electrons, and static electricity.

  • Model of the Atom, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Atomic Mass, Isotopes, Periodic Table, Elements | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: Acting Out Atomic Structure

    In this lesson, students will model the location and behavior of protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up the structure of atoms, focusing on the first 18 elements on the periodic table. Students will model different elements first by adding protons and neutrons (colored balls) to make the nucleus (a basket). Then, the students themselves will represent the electrons that are always moving around the nucleus yet remaining within their designated energy level. This activity is easiest to complete outside or in a large open room to allow for enough room.

  • Electron Configuration, Electrons, Atoms, Ions, Orbitals , Valence Electrons, Model of the Atom | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Electron Configuration and Orbital Diagrams

    In this activity, students will learn how to apply the Aufbau principle, Pauli exclusion principle, and Hund’s rule to model electron configurations and orbital diagrams. They will use colored flat marbles to represent different directional spins of electrons as they fill orbitals based on energy level. They will then look for patterns in the electron configurations and orbital diagrams of various atoms and ions.

  • Ions, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Isotopes | High School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Demonstration: Electrons and Ions Explained with Balloons

    In this demonstration, helium balloons and clothespin weights are used to demonstrate how adding an electron makes a negative ion, and removing an electron makes a positive ion, a concept that is often confusing to students.

  • Radioactive Isotopes, Pros Cons of Nuclear Power, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Fission/Fusion | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Fission vs. Fusion Reading

    In this activity, students will annotate an informational text about fission and fusion using the “text-in-the-middle” reading strategy. They will then compare and contrast the two types of nuclear reactions.

  • Isotopes, Atoms, Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Elements, History, Introduction, Review, Alpha/Beta/Gamma Decay, Radioactive Isotopes | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: What are Isotopes? Video Questions

    In this lesson, students will watch a video and answer questions about isotopes. They will learn about the discovery of isotopes, the difference between chemical and nuclear reactions, different kinds of radioactive decay, and some uses of radioactive isotopes.

  • Isotopes, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Alpha/Beta/Gamma Decay, Radioactive Isotopes | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Using Stable Isotopes to Determine Material Origin

    In this lesson, students will review the concept of isotopes and apply the concepts of stability and relative abundance in order to determine the recent travels of a person of interest in a criminal investigation.

  • 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.

  • Periodic Table, Matter, Atoms | Elementary School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Lesson Plan: The Periodic Table of Elements

    In this lesson students will be introduced to the Periodic Table of Elements. Students will learn that matter is made of small particles called atoms, too small to see with the naked eye. They will also learn that there are more than 100 different types of atoms, which are presented on the Periodic Table of Elements.

  • Periodic Table, Subatomic Particles, History, Introduction, Elements, Atoms, Valence Electrons, Electrons | Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Project: Elemental Art: A Visual Periodic Table

    In this activity students will research an assigned element of the Periodic Table and then create a poster that visually explains and expresses the element. The final posters can be arranged into a classroom Periodic Table.

  • Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, Atomic Mass, Valence Electrons, Atoms, Periodic Table, Elements | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Mystery Elements

    The students will work in cooperative groups to construct Bohr models of "mystery" elements and record missing information about each element. Students will also create a new "mystery" element card for a classmate to analyze and determine its identity.

  • Periodic Table, Elements, Introduction, History, Atoms, Electrons, Subatomic Particles | Middle School, Elementary School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Writing Your Name using Chemical Element Symbols

    In this activity, students will use their creativity to spell their name (first or middle name and their last name) using chemical symbols of elements on the periodic table. For example, you can spell Yvonne using the symbols for yttrium (Y), vanadium (V), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), and neon (Ne).

  • Elements, Model of the Atom, History, Introduction, Matter, Observations, Periodic Table, Culminating Project, Atoms | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Is a Picture Worth 1000 Words?

    In this activity, students will learn about early chemistry discoveries through a textbook reading as well as from a cartoon.

  • Periodic Table, History, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, Elements, Identifying an Unknown, Atoms, Atomic Radius, Ionic Radius, Ionization Energy, Electron Affinity, Valence Electrons, Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Ions, Model of the Atom | High School

    Lesson Plan: The Periodic Table Unit Plan

    The AACT high school classroom resource library and multimedia collection 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 the Periodic Table to your students.

  • Periodic Table, History, Physical Properties, Chemical Properties, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Atomic Radius, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Valence Electrons, Electron Configuration, Orbitals , Isotopes, Atomic Mass | High School, Middle School

    Activity: Ptable.com Investigations

    In this activity, students will use the online periodic table found at www.ptable.com to investigate a number of chemistry concepts. Students will use this online resource to explore information about the elements, including historical data, physical properties, periodic trends and more.

  • Elements, Periodic Table, Interdisciplinary, History, Atoms, Model of the Atom | Middle School, High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Project: Element Baby Book

    In this activity, students will “adopt” an element and create a baby book about their “new baby” while they research and learn about the element.

  • Electricity, Atoms, Electrons, Electrons, Culminating Project, Interdisciplinary | Elementary School, Middle School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Electrical Circuit Quiz Box

    In this activity, students will learn that the flow of electrons within a closed circuit make our lives easier. Students will construct a circuit quiz box that lights up when the correct question and answer are chosen.

  • Electron Affinity, Atomic Radius, Ionic Radius, Periodic Table, Ions, Atoms, Model of the Atom, Subatomic Particles, Electrons, Valence Electrons | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Periodic Trends II: Electron Affinity, Atomic Radius, & Ionic Radius

    In this simulation, students will focus their investigation on the electron affinity of an atom. Through the use of this simulation students will have the opportunity to examine the formation of an anion as well as compare the atomic radius of a neutral atom to the ionic radius of its anion.

  • Atomic Radius, Ionic Radius, Ionization Energy, Valence Electrons, Periodic Table, Electrons, Subatomic Particles, Ions, Model of the Atom, Atoms | High School

    Access is an AACT member benefit. Activity: Periodic Trends I: Ionization Energy, Atomic Radius & Ionic Radius

    In this simulation, students will investigate several periodic trends, including atomic radius, ionization energy and ionic radius. Through the use of this simulation students will have the opportunity to examine atomic data as well as visually compare and interact with select elements from the periodic table.

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