How Small is The Atom

How Small is The Atom

Author: Stacey Dolan

1.  At the end of the lesson, students will explain in their own words why scientists have to use models to describe atoms and what the advantages and disadvantages of models are.

This lesson uses and TED Education video that discusses how small the atom is.

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Introduction to “Just How Small is the Atom”

Scientists use models (smaller or larger versions) of things to be able to study them better.  Cells for instance are really small, it would be difficult to study the nucleus at the size it is.  Our solar system is really huge, therefore it would be difficult to study Saturn at the size it is. 

So, scientists use models to manipulate or study things much more easily.

There are advantages and limitations to models.  For instance, you want to build a Corvette, but you obviously don’t drive, so the next best thing would be for you to build a model, a scale model (all parts of the car are accurate, but way smaller).  The advantage is that you now have a Corvette and is an exact, yet smaller, replica.  But a limitation would be that you can’t drive it.  

So think about ways that scientists use models, and what are the limitations and advantages of using models...

Source: Stacey Dolan

Just How Small is the Atom

Video about how small the atom really is from TEDED

Source: Just how small is an atom? - Jonathan Bergmann TED Education

How Small is the Atom WSQ 1

Form to complete the WSQ

Source: Stacey Dolan created via GoogleDocs