the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
In this classroom activity, learners construct a wobbly model of a crystal array to investigate the attractive interaction between neighboring atoms in a solid. By using this less traditional model, students explore chemical bonds as analogous to a stretched or compressed spring. Gently shaking the model shows how stored energy can be communicated to the next layer of atoms. Vigorous shaking causes the model to break apart, representing the breaking of chemical bonds.
See Related Materials for a link to a Flash animation that helps learners visualize the atomic structure of metals and how the chemical bonds are impacted by bending and heating.
This item is part of a much larger collection of physics/astronomy experiments, sponsored by the UK's Institute of Physics and funded by the Nuffield Curriculum Centre.
atomic model, chemical bonds, crystal, ionic bonds, practical physics
Metadata instance created
August 16, 2011
by Caroline Hall
March 8, 2012
by Lyle Barbato
Last Update when Cataloged:
April 16, 2010
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/M1cd. Atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
6-8: 4D/M3ab. Atoms and molecules are perpetually in motion. Increased temperature means greater average energy of motion, so most substances expand when heated.
11. Common Themes
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/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model Unit Title: Teaching Nanoscale Science
Check out this untraditional model for investigating the attractive interaction between neighboring atoms. Students explore chemical bonds as analogous to a stretched or compressed spring. Gently shaking the model shows how stored energy is released. Shake it vigorously and the model breaks....representing the breaking of chemical bonds.
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. (2010, April 16). Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid. April 16, 2010. http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid (accessed 28 May 2016).
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid. 2006. 16 Apr. 2010. Nuffield Curriculum Centre. 28 May 2016 <http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid>.
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%0 Electronic Source %A Nuffield Curriculum Centre, %D April 16, 2010 %T Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid %V 2016 %N 28 May 2016 %8 April 16, 2010 %9 text/html %U http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid
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