New AACT Resources to Help Teach Atomic Structure

By AACT on August 31, 2023

In this second article focusing on new classroom resources, AACT will highlight recent additions to 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 Chemistry Basics Unit. We will now focus on new resources that could be used in an Atomic Structure unit plan.

  • In the newest atoms resource, Walking through Walls, students examine a story about a General who wanted to create an army of soldiers with the ability to walk through walls. Students will evaluate the scenario, generate questions, and use their understanding of atomic structure to explain why it is impossible to pass through a solid wall.
  • There are two new animations in the multimedia collection that fit in the atoms unit. The Atoms Animation introduces the idea that everything is made of atoms, and that since atoms are so extremely small, even small objects contain vast numbers of atoms. It also gives a brief overview of the history of the atom. The Orbitals Animation illustrates the shapes of the 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, and 3d orbitals and how they build up and overlap as each successive orbital is added. Use the accompanying activity to check for student understanding.
  • For kinesthetic learners, consider trying Acting Out Atomic Structure.  Students will model the location and behavior of protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up the structure of atoms. This activity is easiest to complete outside or in a large open room to allow for enough room.

We hope that these activities can help you to reinforce several of the topics covered in a unit about 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.