Looking for a fun way to teach kids about atoms and molecules?! We’ve got you covered! Our Atom and Molecule Activity Pack includes engaging, hands-on activities that introduce the parts of an atom (the nucleus, protons, electrons and neutrons) and then shows how multiple atoms group together to form molecules.
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Paper Plate Atoms
To get started, I grabbed a paper plate, a marker, glue, and three different sets of 7 pom poms so Big Brother (age 6.5) could make a model of an atom.
We talked about the nucleus that holds the positively charged protons and the neutrally charged neutrons.
Then, since we were making a nitrogen atom this time around, he glued seven orange protons in the center of the plate along with seven blue neutrons. That clump of protons and neutrons made his nucleus.
Next, it was time to add our negatively charged electrons so I showed Big Brother how electrons orbit rapidly around the nucleus.
In a nitrogen atom like the one that we were building, there are two primary paths – an inner orbit with two electrons and an outer orbit with five.
He took his marker and drew circles to make both orbits. We used Chinet brand paper plates that already had rings cut into the mold for easy tracing – an unplanned but appreciated bonus. 😉
Big Brother glued two electrons along the inner orbit and five on the outer.
Viola! Our paper plate atom was complete.
After playing a fun Mystery Element Game with the Periodic Table (included in the activity pack), we jumped into learning how atoms combine together to make molecules like water and carbon dioxide.
Grabbing one card at a time, I helped Big Brother read the common name (for example, water) and the molecular name (H2O). Then he jumped in and started building the structural formula (the picture) out of toothpicks and gumdrops.
The activities made learning about atoms and molecules so motivating and fun! They would be great to use as science centers, STEM activities or Makerspaces.