Learning about atoms can be a challenge for grade 5 6 7 students, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking creative approaches to teach atomic structure, teachers can help make the concept of atoms more interesting and easier to comprehend. Here are 3 ways that teachers can get their students thinking about atoms in new and exciting ways.
Creative, Fun Ways to Teach Atomic Structure
Modeling with Play-Doh: This is an excellent way for students to learn about atomic structure. Have them create models of an atom using Play-Doh or other modeling clay materials.
Assign each type of particle (protons, neutrons, electrons) a different color and have them create their model of an atom with Play-Doh.
Once they’ve created their model, have them explain how each part contributes to an atom’s overall structure and composition.
One that I use year after year (I collect these after the unit is completed for the following year) is the parts of an atom.
Pair this with an easy dry-erase marker activity, and you can quickly review parts of an atom with your students.
When students enter the room, they see an atom and its part written on their desk (see image). Then they use the origami atom to recreate the atom.
I walk around the room to check for the accuracy and placement of the electrons.
Don’t have access to origami atoms? No worries.
I have also done this activity in the past by allowing students to use the dry erase markers on their desks. Of course, be sure to have them erase it before leaving your classroom!
Create an atom: Why not have students create an atom based on materials you have in your classroom?
If you have materials such as:
Then students can get creative and make their own atoms.
Simply give them the criteria of what they need (number of protons, electrons, and neutrons) and let them use different materials to represent each.
Teaching atoms doesn’t have to be boring! The three methods listed above are creative ways for teachers to get their students thinking about atoms in new and exciting ways while reinforcing key concepts related to atomic structure. By providing hands-on activities like these ones, teachers can help foster engagement in the classroom while helping ensure that their students gain a thorough understanding of atomic structure which will serve them well throughout their science education journey!
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