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Build an Atom Basics

Build an Atom Basics

Author: Kimi K

In this lesson, students will learn about the structure of an atom and how to predict what happens with the addition or subtraction of a proton, neutron, or electron.  

Standards: 3.a Students know the structure of an atom and know it is composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. 

NET Standards:

4. Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making


Students will gain a better understanding for the structure of the atom by watching tutorials and using Build an Atom Simulation software.

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Atomic Structure

The atom is the basic building block for all matter in the universe. Atoms are extremely small and are made up of a few even smaller particles. The basic particles that make up an atom are electrons, protons, and neutrons. Atoms fit together with other atoms to make up matter. It takes a lot of atoms to make up anything. There are so many atoms in a single human body we won't even try to write the number here. Suffice it to say that the number is trillions and trillions (and then some more).

Source: "Science for Kids: The Atom." Ducksters. Technological Solutions, Inc. (TSI), Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. .

Video 1: What is an Atom?

Write 2 facts that you have learned from this video in your science journal. Make sure to label the heading Video 1.

Source: MonkeySee

Diagram of a Carbon Atom

The image above is a basic atom diagram. This one shows the protons, neutrons, and electrons of a carbon atom. Each is in a group of six. That makes the atom very stable.

Source: www.universetoday. Atom Diagram by Jerry Coffey on February 17, 2010

Video 2: Make me genius: What is an Atom?

Write 3 facts about video #2 in your science journal. Make sure to write something from the beginning, the middle, and end of the video.

Source: Make Me Genius

Build an Atom Simulator

Now it is time to show what you know with build an atom simulation software.

Step 1. Learn how to build an atom out of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and see how the element, charge, and mass change. Drag your protons and neutrons to the "x" to see what element you have created. (There is a periodic table on the top right.)  Drag your electrons near the orbits to see if your atom is stable or unstable.  Once you understand how the simulator works go on to step 2.

Step 2. Play the game to test yourself. Play 2 games (10 questions each) and write your time and scores in your science journal for me to sign off on.

Click the link below to start:


Source: University of Colorado Boulder