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published by the Concord Consortium
supported by the National Science Foundation
In this interactive activity for grades 8-12, learners build computer models of atoms by adding or removing electrons, protons, and neutrons. It presents the orbital model of an atom: a nucleus consisting of protons and neutrons with electrons surrounding it in regions of high probability called orbitals. Guided tasks are provided, such as constructing a lithium atom and a carbon-12 atom in the fewest possible steps. The activity concludes with a model for building a charged hydrogen atom (an ion). Within each task, students take snapshots of their work product and answer probative questions.  

This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. The Concord Consortium develops deeply digital learning innovations for science, mathematics, and engineering.

Please note that this resource requires Java.
Editor's Note: Modeling phenomena at the atomic/molecular level gives students a firmer understanding of why atoms form bonds in predictable ways: by transferring or sharing electrons. Electron configuration determines how atoms interact. This concept is essential, yet very difficult to visualize from a textbook or illustration alone. Recommended for use in introductory physics courses, but may be adapted for gifted/talented students in grades 8-10. Registered users have access to an assortment of added features, including data saving, editing/customization, and supplemental materials.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
= Atomic Models
= Electron Properties
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
- High School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Curriculum support
= Interactive Simulation
= Model
= Problem/Problem Set
= Tutorial
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Learner
Parent/Guardian
Educator
General Public
Formats:
application/java
text/html
Access Rights:
Limited free access
Access to web site is free. Users may register for additional free access to data capture and to store student work products.
Restriction:
© 2006 The Concord Consortium
Keywords:
Atom builder, Schroedinger, atom constructor, atom model, atom simulations, atomic simulations, atomic structure, atomic/molecular, electron, molecule simulations, neutron, orbitals, proton
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created May 17, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
June 14, 2013 by Lyle Barbato

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
  • 6-8: 4D/M13. The idea of atoms explains chemical reactions: When substances interact to form new substances, the atoms that make up the molecules of the original substances combine in new ways.
  • 9-12: 4D/H1. Atoms are made of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. The nucleus is a tiny fraction of the volume of an atom but makes up almost all of its mass. The nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons which have roughly the same mass but differ in that protons are positively charged while neutrons have no electric charge.
  • 9-12: 4D/H2. The number of protons in the nucleus determines what an atom's electron configuration can be and so defines the element. An atom's electron configuration, particularly the outermost electrons, determines how the atom can interact with other atoms. Atoms form bonds to other atoms by transferring or sharing electrons.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 9-12: 4E/H4. Chemical energy is associated with the configuration of atoms in molecules that make up a substance. Some changes of configuration require a net input of energy whereas others cause a net release.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 9-12: 4G/H2b. At the atomic level, electric forces between electrons and protons in atoms hold molecules together and thus are involved in all chemical reactions.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
  • 9-12: 11B/H5. The behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.

This resource is part of 3 Physics Front Topical Units.


Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: The Standard Model

Modeling phenomena at the atomic level gives students a firmer understanding of why atoms form bonds in predictable ways: by transferring or sharing electrons. This interactive model presents the Standard Model of an atom -- a nucleus consisting of protons & neutrons, with electrons surrounding it in regions of high probability called orbitals. Kids will have fun as they explore electron configuration.

Link to Unit:

Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: Molecular Structures and Bonding

Modeling phenomena at the atomic level gives students a firmer understanding of why atoms form bonds in predictable ways: by transferring or sharing electrons. This interactive model presents the Standard Model of an atom -- a nucleus consisting of protons & neutrons, with electrons surrounding it in regions of high probability called orbitals. Kids will have fun as they explore electron configuration.

Link to Unit:

Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: Molecular Structures and Bonding

Modeling phenomena at the atomic level gives students a firmer understanding of why atoms form bonds in predictable ways: by transferring or sharing electrons. This interactive model presents the Standard Model of an atom -- a nucleus consisting of protons & neutrons, with electrons surrounding it in regions of high probability called orbitals. Kids will have fun as they explore electron configuration.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2006), WWW Document, (http://concord.org/stem-resources/probability-clouds).
AJP/PRST-PER
Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds, (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2006), <http://concord.org/stem-resources/probability-clouds>.
APA Format
Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds. (2006). Retrieved November 26, 2014, from The Concord Consortium: http://concord.org/stem-resources/probability-clouds
Chicago Format
National Science Foundation. Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2006. http://concord.org/stem-resources/probability-clouds (accessed 26 November 2014).
MLA Format
Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2006. National Science Foundation. 26 Nov. 2014 <http://concord.org/stem-resources/probability-clouds>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds}, Publisher = {The Concord Consortium}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {26 November 2014}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%T Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds
%D 2006
%I The Concord Consortium
%C Concord
%U http://concord.org/stem-resources/probability-clouds
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2006
%T Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds
%I The Concord Consortium
%V 2014
%N 26 November 2014
%9 application/java
%U http://concord.org/stem-resources/probability-clouds


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Concord Consortium: Probability Clouds:

Covers the Same Topic As Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project: Hydrogen Energy Levels Lab

This simulation-based activity was developed to help students understand the quantum nature of energy levels in an idealized hydrogen atom.

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