Thursday, January 24, 2013

Paper plate atom models

I thought of various ways we could build models of the atom, and finally decided on this one as the simplest. I saw some instructions for doing this with M&Ms, but as you were supposed to be gluing them to the plate, this promised to be either wasteful or futile. So we used beads. The main point of making a model, in my mind, was to cement the concept of which subatomic particles go where, and which ones determine the properties of an element---and this accomplishes that sufficiently.

I told the children they could choose any element to model. I helped Malachi and Daisy, of course (it was a good counting exercise for both of them---Malachi chose Gold, so he had to go up to 118 for the neutrons) and Abe and Seb were able to do this on their own.

Here's a simple, printable periodic table if you need one. I remember when I was in 6th or 7th grade, my dad brought home a periodic table for me that was colored and detailed (with the full mass numbers and such), printed on heavy paper. I was so proud of it and felt like I was SO lucky compared to everyone else in class that had to make do with their ugly Xerox copies. I kept it in my binder for years and always felt special when I brought it out during classes. It was such a simple little thing, I'm not sure why I loved it so much, but I think I just loved that my dad gave it to me. Anyway! This one isn't as nice, but it will do. :)
Abe wanted to do the lightest and the heaviest naturally-occurring elements.

Sebby wanted his to be shaped "right" :)

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