Activities

Atomic Structure

Explore ion formation, isotopes, and electron orbital placement using interactive models of atomic structure.

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Requirements

The Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart is required to run any of the activities. You can download it at: java.com.

In this activity students explore the structure and properties of atoms. They construct models of atoms with properties of particular mass and charge; create models of atoms with different stabilities by adding or subtracting neutrons, protons, and electrons to a model atom; and determine that the same element may have varying number of neutrons and these form isotopes.

ยป Teacher Guide

Students will be able to:

  • Explore the probabilistic electron orbital model to help explain where electrons are most likely to be found.
  • Explain that all atoms have similar structure, differing only in the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  • Build models of atoms and ions and identify patterns in numbers of protons and neutrons in stable nuclei and ions.
  • Describe simple patterns in the periodic table.
Download & Launch

Download Size: 5 MB

WARNING: Your data will not be saved. To save data, run this activity as a registered user. You can register at the project portal. Please view the requirements below before launching this activity.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

1. The Nature of Science

1A. The Scientific Worldview
  • 1A/H2*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that from time to time, major shifts occur in the scientific view of how things work. More often, however, the changes that take place in the body of scientific knowledge are small modifications of prior knowledge. Continuity and change are persistent features of science.

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 4D/M1b*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that the atoms of any element are like other atoms of the same element, but are different from the atoms of other elements.
  • 4D/H1*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that atoms are made of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. The nucleus is a tiny fraction of the volume of an atom but makes up almost all of its mass. The nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons which have roughly the same mass but differ in that protons are positively charged while neutrons have no electric charge.
  • 4D/H2*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the number of protons in the nucleus determines what an atom's electron configuration can be and so defines the element. An atom's electron configuration, particularly the outermost electrons, determines how the atom can interact with other atoms. Atoms form bonds to other atoms by transferring or sharing electrons.
  • 4D/H3*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that although neutrons have little effect on how an atom interacts with other atoms, the number of neutrons does affect the mass and stability of the nucleus. Isotopes of the same element have the same number of protons (and therefore of electrons) but differ in the number of neutrons.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 4E/H4*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that chemical energy is associated with the configuration of atoms in molecules that make up a substance. Some changes of configuration require a net input of energy whereas others cause a net release.
  • 4E/H5*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that when energy of an isolated atom or molecule changes, it does so in a definite jump from one value to another, with no possible values in between. The change in energy occurs when light is absorbed or emitted, so the light also has distinct energy values. The light emitted or absorbed by separate atoms or molecules (as in a gas) can be used to identify what the substance is.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 11B/M1*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 11B/M2. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that mathematical models can be displayed on a computer and then modified to see what happens.
  • 11B/M4** (BSL). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
11D. Scale
  • 11D/M3**. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.

Copyright
© Copyright The Concord Consortium

Record Link
<a href="stem-resources/atomic-structure">The Concord Consortium. Atomic Structure. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010, August 15.</a>

AIP
Atomic Structure (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, August 15), WWW Document, (http://concord.org/stem-resources/atomic-structure).

AJP
Atomic Structure (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, August 15), WWW Document, (http://concord.org/stem-resources/atomic-structure).

APA
Atomic Structure. (2010, August 15). Retrieved 2014, April 18, from The Concord Consortium: http://concord.org/stem-resources/atomic-structure

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

The Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart is required to run any of the activities. You can download it at: java.com.

The download for this activity will require 5 MB of disk space.

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Science of Atoms and MoleculesThis resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's Science of Atoms and Molecules project.

Grade Level
High School, Higher Education
Subject
Chemistry
Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation
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