Atomic Gumdrops

What does the structure of an ionic atom look like? Students use gumdrops to build an atomic model. Students often begin with misconceptions about atoms.



per student pair:

4 lg red gumdrops


3 lg green gumdrops


3 sm blue gumdrops



(Cut off or file down sharp skewer ends.)


small sticker dots

What To Do

DIVIDE the class into pairs. DISTRIBUTE materials to each pair. Students MAKE particle labels by DRAWING a "+" on three stickers, a "0" on four stickers, and a "-" on three stickers.



Students PLACE +'s on three large green gumdrops (protons), 0's on four large red gumdrops (neutrons), and -'s on three small blue gumdrops (electrons). EXPLAIN that "+" means positive charge, "0" means no charge, and "-" means negative charge.



Students COMBINE protons and neutrons in one cluster, the nucleus. ASK what charge the nucleus has by itself (positive) and DISCUSS why.




Students PLACE each electron on one end of a skewer, and STICK the other end of the skewer in the nucleus; the atom is complete. ASK what charge the whole atom has (none) and DISCUSS why.



Students REMOVE one electron from the atom. ASK what charge the atom would have if one electron left (-1) and DISCUSS why.




What's Happening? Find out more about atoms, ions, acids, and bases.

Challenge. The above atomic model is that of a Lithium atom. What other atomic models can you create? Share your results in our pH Exchange.

Making Water Molecules: What is the structure of a water molecule? 


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