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This lesson looks at the structure of atoms


Art, Science  


5, 6, 7, 8  


Title – The Structure of Atoms
By – Sheila Arvin
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – 5-8
Duration: 1 45 minute period
Description: TLW discuss and investigate the structure and charges of atoms.
Goals: TLW understand the basic structure of the atom.

1. TLW list various items that have a center made from different materials than their outsides (eggs, tootsie pops, etc.).
2. TLW list the various parts of an atom.
3. TLW label the types of charges the various parts of the atom have.
4. Given the description of an atom, TLW identify its charge.
5. TLW create a atoms and describe their charges.

Materials: Harcourt Science, Harcourt School Publishers, 2000; paper; pencils; crayons, magnetic marbles in ate least three colors

Procedure: Step 1 – Prior to reading have students brainstorm a list of items that have a center and an outside that are made of different materials. Begin the list by mentioning how an egg has a hard shell and a gooey center. This brainstorming project can be done as a whole class discussion or in small groups that report back to the rest of the class.
Step 2 – Tell students that atoms are another item that could be added to the list and to listen carefully to see why.

Step 3 – Have students take turns reading aloud from pp. E38 – 39. After reading the fifth paragraph ask students to explain why an atom would be an appropriate addition to their list.

Step 4 – Have students name the center of the atom and write this term and its definition on the board. Go back through the list that was the class brainstormed and ask members to identify for each item which part would be similar to the nucleus. (For example: Which part of the egg is most like the nucleus? The shell or the yolk? Why?)

Step 5 – Ask student to list the two parts that make up the nucleus. List these on the board with their definitions as they are provided. Discuss with students that “pro” can mean being for something – feeling positive towards someone or something. Have students help you to come up with a motion that shows a positive feeling. (For example: a thumbs-up and a smile.)

Step 6 – Discuss with students how something that is neutral does not take sides so it has no side. Have students help you to come up with a motion to indicate “no.” (For example: shaking the head, an umpire’s safe motion to show there is no out.)

Step 7 – Review these parts with students using leading questions. “OK, so the center of an atom is called the _____.” Response. “And the nucleus is made up of two parts, the _____ and the _____.” Response. “The proton has a _____ charge. Response – encourage students to participate in the motions decided upon earlier.” And the neutron has a _____ charge. Again, respond with motions.

Step 8 – Ask students what part of the atom surrounds the nucleus. Add the response and definition to the board. Have students help you come up with a motion that shows a negative feeling. (For example – a thumbs-down and a frowny-face.)

Step 9 – Review the parts of the atom with motions again several times. Students can include their tone of voice to indicate positive and negative using exaggerated happy and sad voices.

Step 10 – Ask students how they could work together to pretend to be an atom. Assign students the roles of proton, neutron, and electron. Have the protons and neutrons join arms in the center of the room to become the nucleus. Have electrons orbit around the outside of the nucleus.

Step 11 – As students take their seats, have them review the parts of the atom.

Step 12 – Have students continue taking turns reading aloud from p. E39.

Step 13 – After the page has been read, review the parts of the atom again.

Step 14 – Ask students how they can know if an atom is positive or negative. (More protons – positive; more electrons – negative; equal number – neutral.)

Step 15 – Have students recreate the atom they made earlier. This time have them freeze in motion and determine how many protons, neutrons, and electrons there are. Ask them to determine if this atom is positive or negative.

Step 16 – As students take their seat, have them review the parts of the atom.

Step 17 – Give students descriptions of various atoms to create using their magnetic marbles. Tell them how many protons, neutrons, and electrons there are for each atom. Have them build the atom and tell you whether the atom is positive or negative. (Have them use the same color each time for the various subatomic particles.)

Step 18 – When students seem comfortable with this activity, have them design 4 atoms of their own. They should draw these atoms using the same colors from step 17 and indicate the charge for each subatomic particle with a “+”, “-“, or “0”. They should also indicate whether the atom as a whole is positive, negative, or neutral.

Assessment: The learner should be assessed according to their participation in the drama activity, the oral identification of the parts of the atom, the atom building, and especially the culminating activity of creating and drawing their own four atoms.

Useful Internet Resources:

E-Mail Sheila Arvin !

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