Atoms and Molecules in TA

Chemistry is a very important science, and many aspects of our lives have been changed by past discoveries related to this field. It also seems to be a fairly intimidating science for many high school students. We feel that it’s very important for students to experience Chemistry before they get to high school. Last week we ventured into this field with our students at Tierra Amarilla Elementary.

We discussed the periodic table, atoms and elements, and how atoms can combine to form molecules.

Students “building” an atom with felt protons, neutrons, and electrons
Discussing electron placement
By the end of the activity, we had some pretty complex atoms!

Our 6th graders were familiar with the idea of atoms and molecules from last year, so with these students we also discussed molecules and introduced concepts that will be important to stoichiometry.

Creating “glucose” (C6H12O6) trail mix, using different ingredients as the elements needed for this molecule
Chlorophyll requires even more “elements” than glucose!


After building “atoms” in groups and learning how combinations of elements can produce different molecules, each student had the opportunity to create their own edible model of an atom using an apple for the nucleus and raisins for electrons.



Some of our students built very complicated elements!


By the end of class our students had a pretty good understanding of what atomic number means and how atoms combine to form molecules. This knowledge is a good basis for starting to learn about water quality in our next session!


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