Physical Science 16

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The Structure of Matter

Atoms are made from a nucleus of protons and neutrons and a cloud of electrons. Electrons are in constant motion around the nucleus, while the protons and neutrons move within the nucleus. Neutrons and protons are each composed of three quarks. This introductory topic doesn’t dwell on “quarks” – but some students may want to pursue this subject area in the student-selected topics provided later.


Day 1 – Introduction
Day 2 – Virtual Textbook


2:14 Chemical Bonding – Ionic vs. Covalent Bonds

5:04 Ionic and Covalent Bonds Made Easy

4:13 What are metallic bonds? | Chemistry for All | The Fuse School



Chemistry introduces a long list of new words for students. For example, the expression “ion” is an important word in chemistry. But “ion” is initially an unfamiliar word to most students. To complicate things further, there are cations and anions described by chemists. Both cations and anions are ions – but they are differently charged.

Cations are positively charged ions. Anions are negatively charged ions.

Some people think it would be easier to ignore the charges and just call them ions – regardless of the charge. Or to say “positive ion” rather than cation – and “negative ion” for anion. Others argue that it is important to have a distinctive word for each.

  • Position A: Abandon “cation” and “anion” words – instead say “positive ion” and “negative ion”
  • Position B: Continue the use of “cation” and “anion” – these words are descriptive and important to chemists.

Instructor Resources

Standard Daily Material
  • Day 1 – Standard material – introduction day
  • Day 2 – Standard material – reading day
  • Day 3 – Standard material – make a presentation
  • Day 4 – Standard material – give a presentation
  • Extra! – Enrichment and remediation options
Other Topic Specific Resources

Special Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:

  • Science & Engineering Practice: Engage in scientific argument from evidence.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Structure and Function.
Standards Concepts
  • The electron cloud is a “cloud” because of the motion of the electron in orbit around the nucleus, and mostly made up of empty space.
  • The atomic number of an atom indicates the number of protons an atom has which determines what element and therefore the chemical properties it possesses.