Add 'Em Atom

Other Chemistry lessons: Electron Configuration and Molarity Jeopardy

  • Subject Area: Chemistry
  • Age or Grade: Juniors/Seniors
  • Estimated Length: 10+ minutes (can be used as an engagement or closing activity)
  • Prerequisite knowledge/skills: Students were introduced to Bohr's model of an atom (location of protons, neutrons, and electrons) and are familiar with the periodic table
  • Description of New Content: Challenge students to link what they have learned about Bohr's model and the periodic table
  • Goals: Students will be able to build Bohr's models of Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, and Beryllium using M & Ms
  • Materials Needed:
    • 1 ziploc bag of M & Ms, 3 colors, 5 of each color per group (groups of 2)
    • scrap paper
    • periodic table
  • Procedure:
    • Opener: Review with students Bohr's model of an atom (draw on the board).
    • Development:
      1. Pass out bags of M & Ms (tell students not to eat until the end of activity) and paper .
      2. Write on board what each color M & M represents (red = protons, brown = electrons, blue = neutrons).
      3. As a class, make a model of Hydrogen on their scrap paper (from the periodic table, students know Hydrogen has 1 proton and 1 electron--they haven't learned how to determine the # of neutrons, but they guess it has 1). Make sure students put protons and neutrons in a nucleus and electrons orbiting the nucleus.
      4. Instruct the students to make a model of Helium on their own. Check that all groups can do it.
      5. Repeat for Lithium and Beryllium (Beryllium is the first element that # neutrons does not equal # protons; students will have 4 protons, 4 electrons, and 4 neutrons).
    • Closure:
      1. Introduce # neutrons = atomic weight - # protons
      2. Eat the M & Ms!
  • Evaluation: The next day, students were asked to draw a Bohr's model of one of these elements.
  • Extensions: See if the students can build a model of Boron (which also has 1 more neutron than proton).
  • References: none