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Investigation 1: Atomic Structure

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Evaluate Atomic Structure with Flame Tests

Performance Assessment

In this lab experience, students carry out a small-scale investigation to select the chemicals used in a big fireworks display. When students build atomic orbital models, they will have a visual of the probability of where the electrons reside in the atomic structure of the atom. These four labs will help you help your students understand atomic structure. Specifically, electron structure and how all elements have their own electron configuration similar to a human’s fingerprint. When students witness the various colors emitted in the flame test lab, they will understand the unique electrons in each metallic salt. Furthermore, the dry portion of the lab safely utilizes bingo chips and filter papers to model the Bohr-type atom. These models solidify that electrons reside in various energy levels. Your students are sure to appreciate the electron filling order!

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Calcium chloride, 50 g
Potassium chloride, 50 g
Sodium chloride, 50 g
Strontium chloride, 50 g
Avery labels, sheet of 80
Construction paper, white, 15 sheets
Energy level labels
Filter paper, package of 60
Wooden splints, package of 100
Non-Consumable:
Bingo chips, red, blue, yellow, and green, 120 each
Glue stick
Additional Materials Required
Beakers, Borosilicate Glass, 250-mL, 20
Bunsen Burner, Adjustable, Natural Gas, 10
Watch Glass, 75 mm, Borosilicate Glass, 10
Weighing Dishes, Disposable, 1-5/8" x 1-5/8" x 5/16", Pkg. of 500, 1

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Bean Bag Isotopes

In this lab experience, students investigate the mass and relative abundance of isotopes for the “bean bag” element (symbol, Bg) and calculate the atomic mass of this element. This lab involves modeling the structure of the atom; specifically modeling isotopes of an arbitrary element. Students should come to understand that not all atoms of an element are the same when they observe the bag of Bg element. The Bg element is made up of several different types of beans. Students identify the different beans as isotopes in the element Bg. Students should separate, count and weigh the different isotopes and have the opportunity to practice percent abundance calculations. Ultimately, student calculate the atomic mass of element Bg.

Materials Included in Kit

Non-Consumable:
Beans, 4 types
Lima beans
Navy beans
Kidney beans
Pea seeds
Weighing dishes, 40
Zipper-lock bag, large, 10
Additional Materials Required
Flinn Scientific Electronic Balance, 410 x 0.01-g, 10
Scissors, 10
Beakers, Borosilicate Glass, 50 mL, 20
Cylinder, Borosilicate Glass, 25 mL, 10

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Evaluate Atomic Spectra

In this lab experience, students explore light and learn that the intensity, or brightness, of light is not the same as the amount of energy a particular color of light possesses then interact with a virtual reality spectrum tube activity to solidify their understanding of the structure of the atom. Students make connections about the electrons in different substances when photons are emitted by viewing the substance with the diffraction grating and spectroscope. Each elemental gas in the spectrum tubes has a unique emission spectra, essentially a unique fingerprint that identifies the element. Completed data tables allow students to record their observations and compare and contrast the various colors of the emission lines and their wavelengths. The use of the spectroscope allows the students to quantify and assign a wavelength value to each emission line. Students are amazed to learn that various light sources around us are made up of materials found in the periodic table, and are further amazed when they relate their findings to atomic structure!

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Calcium carbonate, 25 g
Potassium carbonate, 30 g
Sodium carbonate, 30 g
Banana chips, 1 lb
Wood splints, 100
Non-Consumable:
C-spectra square, 2” x 4”, 5
Flashlight
Spectroscopes, 4
Additional Materials Required
Beakers, Borosilicate Glass, 250 mL, 10
Butane Safety Lighter, 10
Flinn Scientific Electronic Balance, 410 x 0.01-g, 10
Support Stand, 6" x 9", 10
Tirrill Burner, Natural Gas, 10
Watch Glass, 90 mm, Borosilicate Glass, 10
Tongs, 10

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Build a Spectroscope from Household Materials

Engineering Design Challenge

In this lab experience, students are challenged to design and build a spectroscope using a diffraction grating and household materials. Students are challenged to create a working spectroscope to observe the color spectrum of visible light from household materials. Within this teacher support document you will find a full example of one way that the challenge can be conducted, along with leveled suggestions on how to adjust and tailor the challenge for your classroom.

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Cardboard tubes, 10
Construction paper, black, 9”× 12” sheets, 2
Electrical tape, black, roll
Holographic diffraction grating, 2” × 4”
Non-Consumable:
Hole punches, 3
Additional Materials Required
Ruler, Metric, Clear, 30 cm, 10
Scissors, 10

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Evaluate the Bohr Model of the Atom

In this lab experience, students explore whether it is possible to know the precise location of an electron around the nucleus of an atom at any given time as they perform an investigation that models quantum mechanics. Students explore the difficulty of finding an electron around the nucleus and come to understand that we can only determine the probability of its location. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that there is a fundamental limitation as to just how precisely both the position and the momentum of a particle can be known at any given time. Quantum mechanics deals only with the probability of finding a particle within a given region of space at any given time. With a few simple and safe materials, your students are sure to grasp this important concept!

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Target sheets, waist-level, Package of 10
Target sheets, eye-level, package of 10
Non-Consumable:
Glass marbles, package of 15
Dice, package of 24

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Model Electron Configuration

In this lab experience, students use an electron configuration concert analogy to learn and practice electron configuration. Students will master the electron filling order of the elements on the periodic table with this concert seating chart analogy. The concert floor plan clearly defines the orbitals and allowed electrons. Watch your students’ engagement and fascination with this activity.

Materials Included in Kit

Non-Consumable:
BBs, box of 1500
Seating chart, 1
Concert floor plan, 1
Forceps, plastic, package of 10
Magnetic tape, rolls, 10
Weighing dishes, medium, package of 10
Weighing dishes, small, package of 10
Additional Materials Required
Flinn Scientific Electronic Balance, 510 x 0.1-g, 10
Ruler, Metric, Clear, 30 cm, 10
Scissors, 10