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Modeling the Invisible

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Affordable atomic models for the whole class to use

One of the big pushes with the Next Generation Science Standards is to implement modeling with our science students to help them visualize abstract or complex concepts and processes. Modeling is also a great way for students to solve problems (for both homework and real life applications!) Like many of you, I work with a small budget for extra science equipment and supplies so I have to choose carefully what I really need for the school year. With only one atomic (ball and stick) modeling kit on hand I looked into what it would cost to get enough kits for my students and I couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on these modeling kits that my students would only use for a couple weeks. I looked around for other modeling kits and after some searching decided to just make my own. (Click here to check it out) I used the CPK color coding convention so that the standard colors would still be used. I also added the chemical symbols and sized the elements according to their atomic radii so my students could begin to identify periodic table trends.

Most atomic modeling kits cost anywhere from $20 to $50 (for one to two students) and only include seven or eight different elements, and most of the time there aren't enough elements to model chemical equations! The atomic models I created include eleven different elements and you can print as many pages as you want so that the entire class can model chemical equations at the same time.

In addition to the atomic models I created a 10 problem worksheet for students to practice modeling and balancing chemical equations. The worksheet can be printed or done digitally. Save yourself some time and money and check out this atomic modeling activity!


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