Atomic Structure: Investigating Atoms

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the first of three Science Objects in the Atomic Structure SciPack. It discusses the basics of atomic structure and how we know what we know about atoms. Atoms are made of a positive 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. Isotopes of the same element have the same number of protons (and therefore of electrons) but differ in the number of neutrons. The electric force between the nucleus and electrons holds the atom together.

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Reviews (12)
  • on Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:23 PM

I loved this atomic structure sci object! I enjoyed how it provided a little history behind the makeup of an atom and the forces that are within the atom. I really like the charge introduction, which allows students to apply the charges for parts of the atom with little confusion. The "Check Your Thinking" allows you to review atomic structure concepts that have been covered.

Michael Moran  (Medina, OH)
Michael Moran (Medina, OH)

  • on Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:20 AM

This Science Object is great! I learned about the history of the structure of the atom and how it was discovered. This was also great review over the structure of the atom and the electric forces within the atom. I found the ‘check your thinking’ to be helpful because it really reviews and explains what you know about the atomic structure.

Kaitlyn Houck
Kaitlyn Houck

  • on Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:45 PM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Atomic Structure: Investigating Atoms Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are really beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:23 PM

More than I knew - some of the basics I knew but, so much more Iknow it will help me teach more effectively

Becky Carwile  (Del Valle, TX)
Becky Carwile (Del Valle, TX)

  • on Mon May 14, 2012 12:57 PM

Great sequencing. Radiactive deacy is well explained.

Ingrid Sly
Ingrid Sly

  • on Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:45 PM

This is very useful on in depth study of the atom.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:46 PM

This ScienceObject is excellent for introducing you to the structure of the atom, the electric forces within the atom, mass to volume ratios of nucleus to atom and the structure of the nucleus. It is a great way to strengthen the foundation for looking at the strong and weak forces and comparing them to gravity. The ‘check your thinking’ inserts allow you to review and/or reconsider how you think about atomic structure and these fundamental forces. Historical perspectives are similar to those available in word texts but the ‘Dancing in the Dark’ activity would really bring Rutherford’s classic gold foil experiment home to many students. The other interactive activities are just as exciting and would make excellent additions to any classroom investigation into atomic structure.

Patricia  (Arlington, VA)
Patricia (Arlington, VA)

  • on Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:12 PM

This is an excellent resource that allows you teach your students about inquiry in a unique way!

Sherene McDonald
Sherene McDonald

  • on Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:53 PM

This sci-object is great. It provides many "CFU"s, ways that students bring in misconceptions, a variety of activities (simulations, hands-on activities, etc), and brings in the history of how the structure of the atom was discovered. Provides a lot of inspiration for developing lessons and helps to brush up on the concepts around atomic structure. I also really appreciated the beginning, where charges were explained before going into the specific atomic particles.

Greg S  (Wauwatosa, WI)
Greg S (Wauwatosa, WI)

  • on Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:55 AM

Very well explained

Vandita Sinha  (Chapel Hill, NC)
Vandita Sinha (Chapel Hill, NC)

  • on Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:52 PM

Good review of a few of the small details.

Chelsea Bender  (Denver, CO)
Chelsea Bender (Denver, CO)

  • on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:47 PM

This is a good introduction to atomic structure.

Gilbert Bower  (Medina, TX)
Gilbert Bower (Medina, TX)


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