First do a survey in the classroom: “Everything in the universe is made of particles so small that we cannot even see them. This particle is the smallest piece of matter that still retains the property of one element. Can anyone tell me the name of this extremely small particle?" After students come up with the answer, “Atom,” students will be asked to write down a list of the various parts of which an atom is comprised. “What’s inside an atom? What are atoms made up of?”
Following the engagement questions, the attached PowerPoint presentation will be used to explain the evolution of human understanding of the atomic structure and impart the basic knowledge about the atomic structure, the particles an atom is made up of, valence electrons and core electrons, atomic number, atomic mass, and concepts of isotopes. The interactive periodic table is on slide #10.
Divide students into groups based on the available number of atomic model kits. If only one kit is available, rotate students through the activity while other groups work on other activities. Each group of students will be provided with a periodic table and an interactive atomic model kit, including snap-on particles representing electron, proton, neutron, and box with shells based on Bohr model. Each snap-on will have the respective charge representation on it. Electrons will have a negative (-) sign on it, a proton has (+) and a neutron has a blank top. For each given element with atomic number in the periodic table, students will be asked to demonstrate atomic structure using atomic model kit. For instance, oxygen atom has atomic number 8, which means it has 8 protons, 8 neutrons, and 8 electrons. Students will make an oxygen atom by placing 8 snap-on protons and 8 neutrons in the center of the atom representing nucleus and aligning 8 electrons in shells outside the nucleus based on the periodic table. Students will also be asked to show atomic structure for a few other elements, and calculate the number of valence electrons and core electrons.
In another instance, a design with the help of the interactive atomic model will be made to represent a particular element. Based on the presence of a number of electrons, protons, and neutrons, students will be asked to find out the element it represents from the periodic table.
The atom is either positively or negatively charged, creating an ion. By presenting an unbalanced number of electrons and protons in the atomic model kit, students will be asked to write down the element symbol with corresponding ion charges.