Atomic Structure and Chemical Bonding


SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

The study of chemistry requires an understanding of the structure of atoms, the properties of chemical compounds, the types of bonds formed as compounds are made and the types of reactions that can occur. All of these areas are examined in the themes listed below. These resources vary from text-based review documents to some very interactive web sites.

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Reviews (23)
  • on Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:34 PM

This Sci Guide is a great resource for anyone looking to teach atomic structure and chemical bonding. The map breaks up the content into three sections, which are then subdivided into an order. Each section includes many links to different lesson plans, case studies, audio clips, and resources. There is also a list of good websites that have even more information, and those are labeled with many different tags, such as hands-on activities, lesson ideas, online activities, assessments, inquiry, and misconceptions. They also include history, news, and career information, which is a great way to relate the topics back to the students so they can see that the things they are learning are important in the real world. Overall this is a great resource to help teachers organize and find ideas for this topic.

Elle M  (Hudson, OH)
Elle M (Hudson, OH)

  • on Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:10 PM

This SciGuide is very well put together. It has a variety of resources and lays them out in order of the topics that will be covered in a sensible order. I have been looking for interesting ways to portray the information that I will be teaching during my student teaching assignment and can use this guide to pull some ideas from. I liked the variety of teaching strategies that are included in this collection and the multiple ways that the content is portrayed. I have found that students can have a difficult time with much of the content in this area and teaching them in the ways portrayed in this guide will help keep my students engaged. I would recommend this to any chemistry teacher looking for a new way to present information on this content.

Emily Martina  (Ravenna, OH)
Emily Martina (Ravenna, OH)

  • on Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:29 PM

Looks to be a good resource for myself as a future science teacher.

Joshua B
Joshua B

  • on Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:36 PM

SciGuides are really fantastic. If I am ever asked to teach chemistry, I can be confident knowing I'll have the Atomic Structure and Chemical Bondiing SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide.

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

  • on Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:11 PM

The first thing that I found useful was the way that the map was laid out with the themes which were correlated to resource links, like the video talk on graphine and graphite. Another thing I was thrilled about is the variety of different resources. It has everything from pdf worksheets, to interactive simulations, to online lessons from people working in field chemistry. As I look to figure out ways to hit the benchmarks, I will look to the SciGuide for resources and ideas. I will definitely use the demonstration QuickTime movies with demonstration manuals to help me gain confidence and figure out what materials to order for next year. I like that there are so many different types of resources to choose from, so that I can pick and choose what will work best for me. One thing that could be done to improve the guide is to have someone remove the links that don’t work anymore. Another thing might be to organize the map differently, with the “Themes” as units such as “Atomic Structure and Bonding” or “Chemical Reactions” since that is the way it seems to be organized in textbooks and state benchmarks.

Nicole McKamey  (Kilauea, HI)
Nicole McKamey (Kilauea, HI)

  • on Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:04 PM

This Sci Guide is divided into three themes: Interactions, Descriptions and Classification of matter. The themes are further divided into subtopics and there are a large number of links in this guide. The most interesting of the resources to me are the vignettes. I find these to be like little gems for delivery of instruction that incorporates student-centered and problem-based learning. Under all themes there are lesson plans, vignettes, audio/video clips, and more. Links are provided for virtually everything from the simplest of chemical reactions to nuclear reactions. I found this Sci Guide to be very useful because the vignettes provide the opportunity for inquiry-based as well as student-centered and problem-based learning.


  • on Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:58 PM

This is a great resource for teachers. Our students (we teach common curricula with 10 sections) had a difficult time balancing equations, mostly because of their challenges with math. Four of the physical science teachers all found that the students had a hard time balancing equations. To be quite honest, we all just went over it, tried to do some practice problems, and left it at that since it is not a benchmark for physical science, but wanted to expose the idea to them, in order to prepare when they take chemistry in the future. I did use the PHET simulation from the U. of Colorado, had the students go to the game format, and bribed them with candy to get the highest score. Interestingly, most of them were able to balance the equations presented 8 out of 10 times, with many students getting a perfect score, in contrast to the challenges they had with a worksheet. Go figure.. I like the idea of using color coded notecards as an interactive way of balancing equations. Very visual and very hands-on. Having the students design and present a skit or demonstration of the different kinds of chemical reactions is genius. It is very collaborative, interactive, and kinesthetic, that involves all types of learners. It allows students to think "outside of the classroom" and make the concepts more relevant and with more of a personal connection. I will have the students try this tomorrow since I have a workshop to attend and it would be a great activity that a substitute teacher can implement.

Ken L
Ken L

  • on Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:39 PM

Upon completion of the SciPacks, "Chemical Reactions" and "Atomic Structure", I ventured into the SciGuide associated with the SciPacks and found a treasure chest of useful science teacher resources. The guide is divided into 3 main themes: interaction of matter, description of matter and classification of matter. Each theme is further broken down into four subthemes. To learn about a topic, I simply clicked on the theme/subtheme and a collection of worksheets, lab activities, games, websites, tutorials, and animations were at my fingertips. For me, I am always looking for supplementary materials to use as guided practice and for innovative lab ideas. For example, when I clicked on balancing equations, there was an activity where the students use color coded index cards with the reactants, products and coefficients to balance equations in a cooperative learning setting. Another example lab activity used a copper sulfate solution to determine percent yield and relative error. Each topic has mulitple resources to assist any teacher wiling to search and print the resources. I was highly impressed with the quantity and quality of the resources in the SciGuide. In additioin, I was happy to find everything well organized and arranged in one place, so I can pin point the things useful to me. I will use the SciGuide in my lesson preparation and I will recommend it to other teachers.

Robert Tenison  (Lahaina, HI)
Robert Tenison (Lahaina, HI)

  • on Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:36 AM

I had gone over most of the lessons in the classrooms that are under this topic, and I thought I had not given the best to the students after I had discovered this sci-guide. Nevetheless, I know that with the remaining topics I can provide them with the excellent linkages on the subcontents in the past lessons. This is amazing tool in lesson preparation.

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

  • on Thu May 02, 2013 6:27 PM

This is surely the most in depth and well organized Sci guide I looked through. Much of the content is a little bit advanced for my 9th graders, but I like how many of the lessons and articles are touching on higher level thinking and more contemporary science. IT is nice to see subjects covered that were not covered when I was in high school just a decade ago. In the event I become a chemistry teacher I will refer back to this sci guide for resources.

Jason Ward
Jason Ward

  • on Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:26 PM

This SciGuide has a huge number of great animations and websites that help students visualize some very difficult ideas in chemistry. There are sites about interactive periodic tables, novel ways to study symbols, as well as seeing orbitals and understanding quarks. The lessons attached were very useful as well. I only wish that there were more virtual reactions and virtual lab type places to visit.

Vanessa Cannon  (Kihei, HI)
Vanessa Cannon (Kihei, HI)

  • on Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:51 PM

I really enjoyed browsing through this SciGuide. I liked how each section had a whole bunch of links and resources for each topice. The part I found the most helpful was the 9-12 types of reactions. I really enjoyed looking through the links for the students. I know that my students will definitely benifit from these sites. Since I had already passed this section for this semester, I will definitely try a couple of the sites for next semester.


  • on Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:51 PM

This is a good resource is you have planning an atomic structures unit for your high school chemistry class. The SciGuide is very well organized into themes and concepts, so you can easily find vetted links in the areas you are interested in.

Rebecca F  (Elizabeth, WV)
Rebecca F (Elizabeth, WV)

  • on Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:02 PM

SciGuide Review shared on NSTA Learning Center The Atomic Structure SciGuide has a wealth of information. The guide is divided into three themes: Interaction of Matter, Description of Matter, and Classification of Matter. Within each theme there are further divisions. For example, the Interactions of Matter theme consists of: Conservation of Mass, Rates of Reactions, Types of Reactions, and Organic Chemistry. For each theme there are additional resources for K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Each theme has a sample lesson plan along with a sample of student work. I appreciated the lesson plans and samples. They are great exemplars for me to guide me in my lesson planning. I explored the Conservation of Mass section under the Interaction of Mass theme. There were chemistry lesson plans under Balancing Act. I thought these were quite good, and plan to use them for future use. The Balancing Act lessons included worksheets that would give practice for learning to balance chemical equations. These secondary sites lead you to the standards covered for the lessons. Another section takes you to a site called “Sci-Links”. The first link is help with chemical equations. I think this is a great link to provide review on chemical reactions. It is an interactive source in which a person can pull up an equation/problem and the person is given three opportunities to solve the problem. If the person still could not answer the problem, the site provides an answer plus an explanation for the problem. Students could use this as a resource to help them learn to solve chemical equations without the need of an actual teacher. This site provides several chapters of this sort of interactive/ supplemental learning. I continued with the section called World of Molecules which is also under Conservation of Mass. Under the sites for teachers there was information on: food molecules, antioxidant molecules, supplements, molecules for life, molecules of emotions, molecules of disease, drug molecules, pesticides and insecticides, solvent molecules, fuel molecules of color, and materials. I opened up several of selections under World of Molecules. I skimmed through food molecules, and I was interested in learning more about the foods we eat. The molecules of emotions were another interesting topic. I was reminded how our bodies’ chemical reactions can cause our mood and emotions. Another section of the World of Molecules I looked at was the Molecules of Disease. There was a cute interactive for an over active bladder. The interactive showed cartoon characters explaining the reasons/ causes of an overactive bladder. It was here where I thought so much of this information is so interesting and useful for the general public. I then looked into Drug Molecules. I tapped into “nicotine” since I know families have members who have picked up smoking. I was interested in knowing that the chemical calms people and curbs appetite. Sometimes family members pick up smoking again, because they are under a lot of stress. This explains why they start up again, because they need the calming effect of nicotine. Sadly, there is a strong addiction to nicotine which is an addiction stronger to that of cocaine and heroin. As much as we want family members to quit smoking, it is extremely difficult for them. Another interesting site was “states of matter”. This site allowed the user to adjust three different substances and see them change into different states of matter. I liked this site and hopefully will incorporate it into a lesson plan. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the section on water properties, water basics, and earth water. I saw this section as one that would be relevant to most students including the ones I teach. I plan to use the sections on water properties, water basics, and ground water. I appreciate and plan to incorporate the quizzes for water properties and ground water. I hope that this bit of knowledge I try to teach will be long lasting and cause an awareness to conserve our water. Although I only skimmed through the pictures, I think that the ones I looked at could be great spring boards for water preservation. For example the big chicken houses, and the way that some put their wastes into the water supply. There is a section for students under conservation of mass which is a tutorial on balancing equations. After checking it a couple times, I could not access this section. I think any tutorial would be great for students who are struggling with a chemical concept. Description of Matter is the second theme. Under this theme are the following: atomic structure, radioactivity, types of bonds, and acids and bases. Once again there are resources available for k-4, 5-8, and 9-12. At the time that I checked the site I couldn’t access a couple sites under “sites for teachers”. They were “The Particle Adventure” and “Heat and Temperature”. I looked at “Atomic Poetry” and thought the concept was great. Since I teach resource special education, I thought combining two difficult ideas into one would probably not work. I will keep this idea in the back of my mind, however, if I change my thought process. A cute idea in this section is the “Electron Slide”. I could really see using this idea with my students. My students are multisensory, and I can see a version of this fitting into their learning style! Under the Sites for Students, I liked the different games that were presented such as, “Element Hangman”, flash cards and assertive other interactive games. Classification of Matter is the final theme. This theme includes: mixture vs. pure substances, periodic table, phases of matter, and physical & chemical properties. Once again there were resources for all grade levels. When I looked at “Mixture Versus Pure Substances”, I was surprised at all of the labs that were provided for teachers to use. I currently cannot do some of these labs unless I hook up with a general education teacher, because I do not have access to most of the equipment. I was impressed with the many good, relevant labs which students would be interested in. I really liked the Periodic Table Interactive. This site first explains the periodic table, and you can even download it for the interactive. The site has an interactive, and the user has to decide if the element is a cation or anion. Then the user needs to figure out if what element they are showing. I think this exercise is simple enough for my students, and it is something we can do as a class. Another section I enjoyed was the “Ionization of Electrons”. This site provided a very clear and simple way of showing how electrons are prone towards accepting or receiving electrons. I viewed another site called Path to the Periodic Table. It showcased some of the founding fathers of chemistry and what they did to explain what we know about chemistry. I found the Atomic Structure SciGuide to be very informative and useful. I plan to use many of the ideas in my lesson plans.

Rebecca   (Kapolei, HI)
Rebecca (Kapolei, HI)

  • on Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:41 AM

I enjoyed going through this SciGuide because it gives a strong overview for 9-12 Science, including Physical Science, Biology, and Chemistry. For my purpose of AP Environmental Science, I think I can use a lot of these ideas for students who need review of previous science courses to eventually have a good, learned experience in Environmental Science. I like the idea of all the student groups in the lesson plans, because peer-to-peer learning is so valuable and sometimes forgotten in some science courses. I enjoyed reviewing my own knowledge and I think I gained a few extra tips to remind my students next time in class!


  • on Fri May 18, 2012 2:34 AM

The atomic structure and chemical bonding sci guide gives a lot of resources that can be used in the chemistry classroom. One of the resources that I found interesting was on types of matter. The resource gives real life examples such as the use of tie dye to look at various properties of chemicals from various places. In the tie dye example, the article talks about the tie dyes that are used by northern Nigerians. I think that exposing students to real life examples from different countries will help to engage students. Another site is on chemical residue of an explosion. Engaging students by connecting lesson plans to student’s interest will always increase student learning. The article on explosions and forensics can be used to introduce chromatography. One of the methods I have learned to introduce topics is KWL. I think by connecting KWL with a student interest article will increase student engagement and interest in the lesson plan. The sci guide offers resources that can also be used by students. This resource offers teachers a way to differentiate their instructions to fit students who are avid computer users. My next steps would be to incorporate the online resources into my lesson plans. Connecting the student’s interest into the lesson plans will always increase student engagement and learning. Having student use computers to use these resources will also increase student engagement as well as teach them to be effective users of technology.

Sung Yi  (Honolulu, HI)
Sung Yi (Honolulu, HI)

  • on Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:26 PM

This resource is good for Chemistry as well as Biology teachers. There are useful links under the Interactions of Matter theme that correlate to the life science standards. One of the basic organic chemistry links has some good kitchen labs that can be extended into inquiry. This aligns with the new focus of the Advanced Placement Biology. The explore carbon links connect to ecology and the carbon cycle. One of the websites can be used as a webquest for students. Because each theme is broad in content covered, maybe more than one lesson resource could be shared in the SciGuide.

Renee  (Kailua Kona, HI)
Renee (Kailua Kona, HI)

  • on Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:21 PM

This SciGuide provides a multitude of links relating to atoms, matter, and chemical reactions. It is organized into three major themes: 1) Interactions of Matter, 2) Descriptions of Matter, and 3) Classifications of Matter. Material is offered for topics such as rates of reactions, types of reactions, types of bonds, acids and bases, mixtures vs. pure substances, and the periodic table. It may require a bit of time for you (the instructor) to follow links and find ones that are especially applicable to your classroom, but there are useful applets and tutorials available. I like the web-based balancing chemical equations activities -- tons of practice problems are given and can be scored online immediately. I also like the Virtual Lab -- you can mix different reagents and monitor temperature change, molarity, and pH. This SciPack would best be utilized as a means of introduction to chemistry/physical science topics because general definitions and descriptions are given. The tutorials could then be used for students to review and reinforce what they have learned. For most of the topics, student samples and/or many examples of practice problems are provided.

Francesca DePasquale
Francesca DePasquale

  • on Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:47 PM

This resource was very useful in helping me generate new ideas for teaching chemistry in a more interactive and engaging manner for students.

Jesse W
Jesse W

  • on Wed May 02, 2012 2:20 AM

The SciGuide for Atomic Structure and Bonding covers a lot of material. For my purposes (9th grade Physical Science), about half of it was level appropriate and half was geared more towards upper level Chemistry. The resources in the "sites for students" section were good, but require internet access. The section on Classification of Matter had a few interesting lesson plans. Overall, i think this SciGuide would be more useful if it were separated in to two separate guides, and each was a little bit more specific.

Sarah H
Sarah H

  • on Wed May 02, 2012 2:20 AM

The SciGuide for Atomic Structure and Bonding covers a lot of material. For my purposes (9th grade Physical Science), about half of it was level appropriate and half was geared more towards upper level Chemistry. The resources in the "sites for students" section were good, but require internet access. The section on Classification of Matter had a few interesting lesson plans. Overall, i think this SciGuide would be more useful if it were separated in to two separate guides, and each was a little bit more specific.

Sarah H
Sarah H

  • on Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:46 PM

I did this activity with my 9th grade Physical Science students to understand the different reaction types. We did four types of reactions: synthesis, decomposition, single displacement and double displacement. We do not have access to computers in class and the computers in the library are always being used for testing so I just went over the different reactions in a lecture form with worksheets. I broke the class into four groups (we only have 18 students in class) and they each got one of the reactions. From there they were responsible for portraying their reaction in an easy to understand form for the rest of the class. I think they all did a good job and we were all laughing hysterically by the end of class. I think it helped them figure out the four types of reactions better.


  • on Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:39 PM

Overall, this SciGuide has some pretty interesting ideas that educators should look into. I do recommend this SciGuide to teachers who are looking for lesson ideas on atomic structure and chemical bonding. The four day lesson plan that is featured in the SciGuide talks about having students coming up with a creative way to teach a concept to their classmates, through a skit or presentation. Giving students ownership of the lesson is a great way to get them involved and also help encourage peer to peer interactions. Teachers should, prior to implementing the lesson, review the elements and rules to balancing chemical equations. This is not mentioned in great detail in the SciGuide. In addition, some links in the SciGuide don't even work. For example, "sample of student work" does not work under balancing chemical equations. It would be helpful to see examples of student work for the lesson as it gives you an idea of what the purpose of the lesson actually is. Also the chemical bonding video clip doesn't work either. I find that showing videos is a good review and supplement to what students are learning. The SciGuide does put you on the right track in terms of trying to show visual ways to teach a particular concept. All in all, the ideas in the SciGuide can give educators an idea of what to do in their own lessons. However in terms of the actual specifics and lack of content present in the SciGuide, this review cannot warrant a 5 star rating.

Loren Nomura
Loren Nomura

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