Lesson 5: Atoms and Elements

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This week’s lesson is jam-packed with important information. Please take time to go over it carefully, and write down any questions you might have.

Textbook Reading:  Chapter 4, pp. 91-114




Atoms are pretty amazing to think about, and our knowledge of them is increasing all the time.

I have a friend who used to ask me, “Has anyone ever seen an atom?” Recently scientists have developed technology that allows us to do just that. It is called an atomic force microscope/scanning tunneling microscope.

This video from Nature shows us what atoms look like through one of these microscopes, as well as introducing some of the reasons why looking at atoms is useful (direct link).

How small are those atoms we just looked at? This TED video helps put it all into scale (direct link)

Finally, in this video Mr. Causey explains atoms, isotopes and ions and then helps you figure out how many protons, neutrons and electrons are found in some common examples (direct link).

Some other useful resources:

Theodore Gray has gone a long way towards making the elements more easy to relate to with his periodic table of element photographs at http://periodictable.com. To look at each element, click on the photograph. His periodic table is also available as a book and as cards.

You might also want to check out this interactive period table.

Should you memorize the elements? I don’t think it is necessary to memorize every one, but you would benefit from learning the abbreviations for the most common elements, especially when we start doing reactions. Free Rice has a quiz/game to help you learn the basic symbols and once you’ve them, the full list of symbols. What level can you get to?

Optional video:
Are you interested in history? Bozeman Science gives an overview of how various parts of the atom were discovered and how the model of the atom changed. (direct link)

Since you are getting a break with lab this week, be sure to spend some extra time on this very important chapter. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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