The Atom - Flipped

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SWBAT identify the key components of an atom and create an atomic model.

Big Idea

In this lesson students review their flipped notes in order to use pre-made atom models and then to construct their own models of atoms.


5 minutes

As students enter the room, they are handed a note card with either the name of an element, an element symbol, or an atomic number.  The students use their periodic tables to first write down the two missing pieces of information that go along with the information on their note card. When I created the initial set of cards, I used the elements that the students would most frequently encounter in class (H, He, O, C, N, K, Cl, Na, Fe, F).

Once all of the students have done this, they find the other two members of their group.  The group checks their answers with me prior to moving on to the next step of the activity.  This allows me to ensure that groups have been correctly formed and helps to prevent confusion during the next portion of the activity.

Once I have checked their answers, I give students a sheet of paper and ask them to reproduce the information from the periodic table on one side and write a couple of narrative sentences from the "perspective" of the element on the other side.  The students are required to include at least one qualitative and one quantitative observation in their narrative.  For instance, the students could write "Hi, my name is Fluorine, but my friends call me F.  I am a halogen and my atomic number is 9."  The students will have an opportunity to read their cards to the class.  All of the cards are collected and put on a ring to be used by students later as a study tool.


10 minutes

I collect the note cards from the students as they take out their Cornell notes.  I then spend time reviewing key information from the notes with the students. 

This is the video that students are to have viewed and taken notes from one day prior to this class period.


20 minutes

After reviewing the notes, students are directed to an online instruction sheet for building atoms.  We review the guidelines as a class and then students work at different stations within the classroom.

Station 1: The students use the Build an Atom simulation, following the given instructions.

Station 2: The students work with me in a small group to review basic information about atomic structure, using pre-constructed atom models.

Station 3: The students choose an element and build a three dimensional model using provided recycled materials.

All three of these activities are designed to meet SP2 - Developing and Using Models.  These activities also create a foundation for developing models to describe the atomic composition of molecules (NGSS - MS-PS1-1).

Wrap up

5 minutes

Prior to leaving the room, students will take a atom review quiz about the structure of atoms on Socrative.

*Quizzes created in Socrative can be administered online or downloaded as a pdf.  Student work can be viewed in a variety of formats.  Student scores can be downloaded as well.  Here is a sample of my students' Socrative answers.