AACT Resources to Help Teach Atomic Structure

By Kimberly Duncan on September 18, 2018


As chemistry teachers around the country plan activities for their students, AACT will be highlighting resources from our high school resource library that can be used to reinforce topics in different units throughout the school year. Our last post highlighted resources that could be used to support a Chemical Measurements unit. We will now focus on articles, videos, simulations, and activities that could be used in an Atomic Structure unit.

Since our original post in October 2017, we have added a few more resources that you might consider trying with your students. Additionally, we have put together a unit plan that uses many of our resources to help you teach a unit on atomic structure.

If you use the Ernest Rutherford, Niels Bohr, Antoine Lavoisier, or Amedeo Avogadrovideos from our Founders of Chemistry video series with your students when you are introducing the topic of atomic structure, we have added an activity sheet that include questions for students to answer as they watch the videos. You can access the video questions in the sidebar of the video webpage. Earlier this year we introduced our Student Video Pass benefit which allows your students to have access to any of the videos in our multimedia library. You can learn more about this new benefit in our February news post or on the Student Video Pass FAQs page on our website.

Use the Candy Isotopes & Atomic Mass activity to introduce the concept of average atomic mass. This simple and inexpensive activity uses M&M candies to model ratios that approximate real world atomic mass values on the periodic table. The resource can be used with middle or high school students and includes alignment with NGSS performance expectations.

The Flame Test (Rainbow Demo) is a safer version of the traditional demonstration that is commonly used in high school chemistry classrooms. It can be used to show students the variety of colors that are produced when different metallic salts are heated in a flame. You can view a video of this demonstration on The Flame Test page of the ACS website.

Atomic structure 1

We hope that these activities can help you to reinforce several of the topics covered in a unit on atomic structure. Most of these lessons were made possible by great teachers who shared their own resources. We need your help to keep the collection growing. Do you have a great demonstration, activity, or lesson related to this topic that you would like to share with the community? Please send it along for consideration.