Atoms are the basic unit of a chemical element. An atom a fundamental piece of matter. (Matter is anything that can be touched physically.) Everything in the universe (except energy) is made of matter, and, so, everything in the universe is made of atoms.
Lesson 1 (or “Day 1”) Material
- Topic 14 Introduction to Atoms Instructor Presentation (pdf)
- Topic 14 Introduction to Atoms Instructor Presentation (ppt)
- Day 1 Instructor Presentation
- Day 1 Student Handout
- Day 1 Rubric
Lesson 2 (or “Day 2”) Material
- Day 2 Instructor Presentation
- Day 2 Student Handout
- Day 2 Rubric
- Read Physical 14 – 6th Grade Definitions
- Read Physical 14 – Atom
- Read Physical 14 – Atomic Structure
Lesson 3 (or “Day 3”) Material
Lesson 4 (or “Day 4”) Material
5:27 Just How Small is an Atom?
8:43 What Does An Atom REALLY Look Like?
0:48 First Picture of the Hydrogen Atom
Compare Contrast and Debate
Kick-Off Debate Background: Atoms are obviously very small. Atoms are a bit difficult to understand. Prior to the year 2000, atoms were often represented with simple illustrations showing electrons circling around protons and neutrons. Today though, we know about the “electron cloud” – and the simple illustrations are not entirely accurate. Some people think the simple illustrations are still a great way to teach young people about atoms. Others think that even though the general concepts can be taught with the simpler illustrations, it is better to use a more accurate description even if it is complicated and difficult to draw.
- Position A: The “old-school” illustrations of atoms remain a great way to teach about atoms.
- Position B: Accuracy is more important than simplicity in teaching about atoms. The “old-school” illustrations should be abandoned.
Resources Documents and Links
- Write a letter – Atoms
Special Notes and Notices
- Science & Engineering Practice: Develop and use models.
- Cross-Cutting Concept: Structure and Function.