Lesson Plan

In the Life of an Atom

How atoms bond and interact with matter
Courtney R.
Classroom teacher
Van Sickle Middle School
Springfield, MA
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My Grades 8
My Subjects Science

Day 1: Students will explore how a single atom bonds and interacts with matter

Day 2: Students will develop a story showing these interactions

Grades 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

Teacher will provide students an index card as they enter the class.

Each index card will have a Lewis Dot Structure for an atom on it, showing the Chemical Symbol and number of valence electrons. 

Teacher will ask students to review their index card and think about what atoms they can bond with. 

Student Instructions

Students will review their Lewis Dot Structure as they enter the room.

After all students have entered the room they will walk around, looking for another student they can bond with based on the atom on their index card. 

Students will write the chemical formula for the bond they created. (i.e. three hydrogen atoms bonded with one nitrogen to form NH3)

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Presenting

Teacher introduces "Life of an Atom" research and activity.

Teacher will roll out the objective of the research (step 1) and the activity students complete to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding (step 2).

Teacher will model exemplar of students' final product for the activity, utilizing Scholastic Graphix comic book designer. 

Student Instructions

Students will review the rubric as teacher goes over expectations.

Students will examine their own copy of teacher exemplar. 

3 Guided Practice (Day 1)

Teacher will provide the following guiding questions for students to research:

1. What atom are you?

2. How many protons, neutrons, and electrons do you have?

3. What type of element are you? (Metal, nonmetal, metalloid)

4. Who do you bond with, and is it an ionic or covalent bond?

5. Where are you located? (i.e. if you are hydrogen and bond with oxygen you form water and might be located in the ocean, or in someone's drinking glass.)

6. What other molecules are around you to form a mixture? Is the mixture homogeneous or heterogeneous?

7. How can you undergo a chemical change to transform into another molecule? (i.e. H20 can undergo electrolysis so the hydrogen atom turns into H2)

Student Instructions

In pairs, students will utilize laptops to gather information on the atom of their choice. 

Students will use the Los Alamos National Laboratory interactive periodic table to record information about their chosen atom; compounds that each atom forms are also provided and explained. 

Students will use other outside resources to explain how their compound interacts with surrounding matter, where the compound is found, and how the compound will undergo a chemical change

4 Independent Practice (Day 2)

Teacher will explain to students how to utilize Scholastic Graphix to turn their research into a creative story. 

Teacher will post exemplar of comic on the Smart Board and point out when and how each research questions was addressed. 

Teacher will navigate students to the Scholastic Graphix site to get them started. 

Student Instructions

Students will review their own copy of the comic exemplar, circling the research questions that were addressed throughout the story. 

Students will begin designing their story of the chosen atom with their partner on the Scholastic Graphix site. All research questions must be addressed in the comic

At the end of class students will save their comic - to either print it or complete the following day. 

5 Summarizer

Activity: Other — Writing

Teacher will provide students a piece of paper with the following question: How do you interact with your atom/compound every day? 

Student Instructions

Students will reflect on their research to determine one way (or multiple ways) they interact with their atom/compound on a daily basis.