Exhibition Focus & Learning Objectives

The Atoms Family is learner-focused. Simulations, demonstrations, videos and computer interactives let visitors find their own answers. Pre- and post-visit materials and an extensive Web resource (www.miamisci.org/Atoms) expand the educational reach of the exhibit and enhance formal science education curriculum. The educational content and concepts of The Atoms Family are based on National Education Standards as well as the Florida Sunshine State Standards for PreK–12 Science, produced by the Florida Department of Education whose Advisory Committee included the Museum's Director of Education.

Ten energy- and matter-related principles are at the core of the exhibition:

  1. Energy manifests itself in many forms. Mechanical (potential and kinetic), chemical, electrical, magnetic, nuclear and radiant energy are all different forms.
  2. Energy can be transformed from one form to another.
  3. In a closed system, the total amount of energy is always the same.
  4. Energy conversions are never 100% efficient.
  5. Matter is made up of small particles, called atoms, that are in constant motion. Atoms are made up of subatomic particles including electrons, protons and neutrons.
  6. Some atoms have heavier unstable nuclei that decay spontaneously.
  7. Evidence indicates that matter has properties of both particles and waves.
  8. Matter can be converted to energy and energy transformed to matter.
  9. When energy is transformed from one object to another, or when one kind of energy changes to another, work and/or heat are involved.
  10. Matter and energy and their interaction govern all systems in the universe.