Atomic Structure: Properties of 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 second of three Science Objects in the Atomic Structure SciPack. It explores the structure-related properties that make one type of atom different from another, and looks more closely at the role of the neutron. The number of protons in the nucleus determines what an atom's electron configuration can be and so defines the element and its properties. An atom's electron configuration, particularly the outermost electrons, determines how the atom can interact with other atoms. Although neutrons have little effect on how an atom interacts with others, they do affect the mass and stability of the nucleus. The nucleus of radioactive isotopes is unstable and spontaneously decays, emitting particles and/or electromagnetic radiation. It cannot be predicted exactly when, if ever, an unstable nucleus will decay, but a large group of identical nuclei decay at a predictable rate. This predictability of decay rate allows radioactivity to be used for estimating the age of materials that contain radioactive substances.

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Reviews (7)
  • on Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:17 PM

This is a great little gem to use with my lesson on magnetism and electricity unit!

Maxine Dibert  (Fairbanks, AK)
Maxine Dibert (Fairbanks, AK)

  • on Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:46 PM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Atomic Structure: Properties of 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 Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:42 PM

Good review for atoms, atom make up and stability of electrons.

Tory Addison
Tory Addison

  • on Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:11 PM

As it can be apply to elementary, middle school and high school levels I think it is a great tool for teachers to introduce students to the knowledge of the atomic structure and its properties.

Linda  (Pharr, TX)
Linda (Pharr, TX)

  • on Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:55 PM

I selected the resource "Atomic Structure:Properties of Atoms" because it has been decades since I have taken chemistry in high school. At first the text seemed very simple. I thought that the information was something that my 4th grade students could read and understand. Soon the information got more in depth and complex. It was helpful for me to play the audio portions and then read the text. It also helped me to take notes. I learned a good deal about atoms from this lesson. I had some success and was challenged also. The information was not to far over my head as to lead to confusion and frustration. It was also difficult enough that I learned something new that I can now explain atoms and how they work to my students.

Sharon Jacobs  (Kamiah, ID)
Sharon Jacobs (Kamiah, ID)

  • on Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:49 PM

This went over the basics of the properties of atoms.

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

  • on Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:59 AM

I like the segments dealing with radioactivity and Lewis structures, but I think that the first 3 parts or so are incomplete, and potentially could pass on scientific misconceptions. There are many more subatomic particles like quarks, neutrinos, positrons, beta decay, alpha rays etc. that should be referenced. The interactive which has you create a neutral atom is too basic, so overall, I would rate this resource as good or 3 star.

Therese H  (Salisbury, MD)
Therese H (Salisbury, MD)

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