New AACT Resources to Help Teach Atomic Structure

By Kim Duncan on September 19, 2019

As chemistry teachers around the country plan activities for their students, AACT will highlight 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 new resources that could be used in an Atomic Structure unit plan.

  • In the activity, Calculating Moles in Daily Life, students use dimensional analysis to complete calculations and conversions for the number of moles, atoms, and molecules in several everyday household items using collected data. This lab activity is easy to set up, uses inexpensive everyday materials, and is aligned with NGSS.

  • The Hoopla About Atoms demonstration uses a modified hula hoop and ball to visually represent what was learned from Rutherford’s Gold Foil experiment. Students will see that atoms have a dense nucleus in the center that is surrounded by mostly empty space.
  • We have added two new resources that are appropriate for teaching the topics of photoelectron spectroscopy and Coulomb’s Law to advanced or AP chemistry classes. Both of these resources have been aligned with the updated AP Chemistry CED from the College Board.
  • In the lesson plan, Introduction to PES students learn how to interpret simple photoelectron spectroscopy spectra by incorporating their knowledge of electron configurations, periodic trends, and Coulomb’s law. In addition to extensive teacher notes and student answer keys, this lesson provides links to PES related questions that have been on the AP exam since 2014.
  • The lesson plan, Coulomb’s Law leads students through an exploration of qualitative applications of the law within atoms and between ions and solvents. It includes an activity to engage your students, a computer simulation to help them explore Coulomb’s Law, and a guided inquiry activity to help them elaborate on the topic.

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.