Chemistry

Teaching Atomic Structure

My 8th graders are just starting a unit over the structure of an atom and I'm looking for an interesting way to introduce this topic. Usually, we take notes from a PowerPoint and complete the textbook reading. We just ordered a set of molecular model kits this year, but I've never used them before. We have a few weeks before the start of state testing, but I'm hoping to lay a good foundation (and generate interest) for students to pursue chemistry in high school.

Shalen Boyer
Shalen Boyer
5360 Activity Points

With the molecular modeling kits, you can challenge the students to make common chemicals.  Let them know which of the pieces represent carbon and nitrogen and oxygen and hydrogen.  Then you can search Wikipedia for structures of smaller, common chemicals.  There is often an image of a "model" type structure included so they can compare.  Some of the easier ones: aspirin, cinnamaldehyde, ethanol, benzoyl peroxide, camphor and ibuprofen. 
 

Michael Roche
Michael Roche
135 Activity Points

Have you looked at any apps? Atom Builder allows you to assess your students knowledge of atomic number, mass number, and ions in a review game.

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

Is atom builder an app for an iPad? We used the Phet simulation as a class since I don't currently have access to a computer lab.

Shalen Boyer
Shalen Boyer
5360 Activity Points

This is a great site for simulations. Select HTML for use on an iPad. Hope this helps, Joni https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/build-an-atom

Joni Ingram
Joni Ingram
1705 Activity Points

I like the games that can be played, but I wish that it would send results to teacher to allow for use as an assessment tool.

Joshua Beck
Joshua
7250 Activity Points

Yes. Atom Builder is an iPad app.

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

Dang! We don't have any Apple products in our district.

Shalen Boyer
Shalen Boyer
5360 Activity Points

Well, to make it interesting, I find that it helps most students to see it applied. We might ask why chlorine is such a good disinfectant, or why sodium reacts violently with water (with lithium reacting less vigorously and potassium more vigorously). Or why we only get specific lines of light emitted when we excite a particular element. Or how we know that the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is due to humans burning fossil fuels. All of these phenomena are directly related to atomic structure (electronic structure and isotopes). I've clicked the box to notify me if there's a reply, or maybe you can figure out how to email me directly; I'd be happy to discuss or send resources if you want for next year. Best, Bryan Smith Polaris K12 School Anchorage, AK

BRYAN SMITH
Bryan Smith
310 Activity Points

I would love any resources or examples that you could provide. My 8th graders do not delve too far in depth in regards to atomic structure. Usually we are able to get to covalent and iconic bonding. I've noticed the past few years that the incoming students have a just the basic concept of atomic structure and not much else. Being able to provide some actual examples would be awesome.

Shalen Boyer
Shalen Boyer
5360 Activity Points

I haven't actually taught chemistry at the middle school level, but for my own enlightenment I love the following resources which you might be able to use to stimulate interest and connection with that age group. One. the book, Why there is antifreeze in my toothpaste. Two, the periodic table in card format: The Photographic card deck of the Elements Third: Stop Faking it. Models and chemistry. He introduces the Greek version of the elements Four: The Alchemists

Lecia Schall
Lecia Schall
6090 Activity Points

New teacher here just trying to get some ideas about science teaching. I had no idea there were apps for this kind of thing! it makes sense I had just never thought of it. Obviously there are some drawbacks if you don't have the proper resources, but if you could make it work I could see this being really helpful!

Zeben Gorman
Zeben Gorman
375 Activity Points

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