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Whats Inside?

Lesson Plan

Objectives 1. The students will understand atomic structure from a historical
2. The students will understand the process of solving problems by
using indirect evidence.
3. The students will be able to locate the three basic parts of an atom
on a diagram.
Resources 3 small boxes 4 large boxes
1 ball 4 pop cans
2 thumbtacks marbles
1 wood block


Put the ball in a sealed small box.
Put a wood block in a sealed small box.
Put 2 thumbtacks in a sealed small box.

Split the class into 3 groups. Give each group a sealed box. Have each
group shake, feel, and maneuver their box for 5 minutes. Write down
observations and what they think is in the box.

Rotate boxes around so that each group will have each box for 5

As a class, discuss the findings and the difficulties of trying to find
what is inside the box without any prior information. Connect to
historical scientists as they tried to figure out the particles in an atom.
-Daltons Theory; Billiard Ball Model
-Thomsons Plum Pudding Model

Split into 4 groups.
Each group will place a pop can in the center of a large box. Students
will roll marbles through the box. When the marble hits the can, stand
it back up if it fell, and continue rolling marbles. Roll a single marble
50 times through the box as a group. Record data: times hitting the
can, and times missing the can.

Explain Rutherfords gold foil experiment and the discovery of the
nucleus. Connect to the box:
Box= atom, Can= nucleus, empty space = electrons.

Explain that electrons have almost no mass and the nucleus contains
basically the entire mass of the atom. The nucleus is positively
charged, dense, and in the center of the atom, and the atom is mostly
empty space.

Explain current atomic model.
-Bohr Model
-Quantum Model
Assessment Students will complete an exit card in which they explain one early
model of an atom, two conclusions from Rutherfords experiment, and
label the 3 subatomic particles of an atom on a diagram (drawn on the
board that they will copy to their paper). This will be graded for 10
Indiana State Standards C.2.1 Describe how models of atomic structure changed over time
based on available experimental evidence and understands the
current model of atomic structure.
C.2.2 Describe how subatomic particles contribute to the structure of
the atom and realize that particles within the nucleus are held
together against the electrical repulsion of protons.
Bristow, Sadie. Atomic Structure. TeAchnology. (Web). 17 September 2014.