Building 3D Models of Atoms
Students build atoms of elements 1-20. The entire set can be hung from the ceiling in order of the Period Table to be referred to throughout the Chemistry class/unit. This is helpful when teaching bonding and patterns of the Periodic Table.
When reviewing or teaching new concepts, the teacher has 3D models to refer to instead of 2D pictures or just the Periodic Table.
-Students have a 3D visual of elements 1-20
-Students can actually see patterns of the periodic table: size, number of orbitals, valence electrons, etc
Context for Use
Type: lab/building a model
Time: 45-90 minutes - depending on dexterity of students
-Wire (about 20 gauge)
No prior knowledge of atoms necessary
Resource Type: ActivitiesClassroom Activity, Lab Activity
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), Intermediate (3-5), High School (9-12)
Description and Teaching Materials
Cut the needed amount of orbitals (wire) and put each orbital size in a different box. (1st orbital = 1 foot of wire, 2nd orbital = 2 feet, 3rd orbital = 3 feet)
Pieces need to do 1 set of elements 1-20:
1 foot = 20 pieces
2 feet = 18 pieces
3 feet = 2 pieces
Cut bamboo skewers in half (so they are about 2 in. long).
Copy student instruction sheet
Have enough marshmallows! (Note: My students cannot eat them because of religious reasons, but you may need to worry about them eating them!)
Have scissors for cutting fishing line
How will the lesson be introduced?
As a way to "see" atoms by building 3D models and arranging in the order of the periodic table to see trends.
-Build 3D models
-Attach them to the ceiling in order
-Look for trends
-Use the models to show bonding
I referred to them throughout the quarter! Assignment handout (Microsoft Word 24kB Aug15 08)
Teaching Notes and Tips
I had students work in pairs and I assigned the atoms so that my students that would have problems got the smaller elements so everyone finished about the same time.
I had students who got done first make extra oxygens, carbon, and lots of hydrogen so we could make them into molecules later (by using twisty-ties from bread bags to keep the orbitals together).
The actual making of atoms helped so much especially for students who had never heard of atoms and to refer to throughout the unit.