The Atom


  • Worksheet with descriptions and atoms to label (pdf).
  • “Atoms and Matter” crossword puzzle (pdf).
  • Use the “Dream Journey Into the Atom” poster (pdf) to complete the accompanying worksheet or use this (pdf) printable version of the worksheet.
  • “Atomic Structure” worksheet (doc).
  • Have students use the internet to do this “Chemistry Scavenger Hunt” (pdf).
  • Have students to the “Atomic Structure and Theory” Magic Square.
  • Do this “Atoms and Elements” crossword puzzle. The author tells you to set your printer options to print the background. To do this, select “Tools” in your browser, then “internet options”, select the “advanced” tab and scroll down to “Printing” and place a check in the box, “Print background colors and images.”
  • Print this “Electron Configuration” (doc) chart for your bulletin board or use to make an overhead transparency.
  • Have students write a childrens’ book on an element with this “Atomic Structure” WebQuest.
  • Try this Teacher’s Domain (you must sign up for free) activity, “The Strange World of Electrons,” which includes 3  videos.
  • “Atomic Musical Chairs” (pdf) is middle schools activity for discovering the structure of atoms.
  • Do this “Atomic Structure” (pdf) crossword puzzle.
  • In the “Molecular Structure and Geometry” exercise from Patrick Gormley, students will assign geometry, molecular structure, and hybridization to five substances using the Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsiion (VSEPR) theory. 
  • Have your students play Mrs. J’s “Electron Configuration Battleship” (doc).
  • Do Mrs J’s “Patterns in Electrons” (pdf) worksheet (includes periodic table).
  • The “Hog Hilton” (doc) activity is a clever way of demonstrating the way in which electrons fill orbitals. It was sent to the Google HSChem group by Carole Henry of Southwest High School in San Antonio, TX.
  • Have students do this “Configure Your Electrons” (doc) worksheet.
  • Nova’s video “Island of Stability” could be used when studying atoms or the periodic table. It’s about the search for element 114 and goes “inside the nucleus of an atom to learn how protons and neutrons interact.”
  •  Use the PBS “Atom Builder” activity to complete this Atom Builder (pdf) worksheet.
  •  Show this video cartoon of “The Higgs Boson Explained.”


  • In the “Electrons in Atoms” (doc) lab students use a dart to determine where electrons will fall outside the nucleus. Students can use Excel to graph their results or the teacher can copy and paste the “Generic Graph” found in my Management Tips section on the Chemistry home page into the student copy of the lab report. Here is an example one of my student groups did (doc).
  • If using darts in your classroom is out of the question, try the “Quantum Mechanics and Split Peas” (doc) lab with teacher instructions (doc). This was contributed by Caryn Sugden of Greenwood, IN from the NSTA Listserve .
  • Show this “Flame Tests” demonstration of seven elements and have students complete Abigail Freiberger’s “Flame Test Demonstration” (doc) worksheet that goes with it.
  • Simulate Rutherford’s experiment with “Rutherford’s Roller” (pdf).
  • Rosemarie Smith of the NSTA Listserve contributed this “Seeing the Light” (doc) lab that investigates the emission of light by radiant objects.


Leave a Comment