Electron configurations and orbitals can be a confusing topic for chemistry students. Electron City is a POGIL-style activity that compares energy to something much more tangible--money. Students will analyze the cost for electrons to move into four different models of houses (s,p,d, and f) within four different neighborhoods (1, 2, 3, and 4). Their goal is to fill up all of the houses on the page from cheapest to smallest and write down the order the houses were filled. Then, the students answer a set of questions that help them transfer what they learned from the activity to actual atoms. This activity helps students better comprehend why the 4f orbital fills before the 3d orbital and the general order in which orbitals are filled. (Note: While the models go up to model f, there are only four neighborhoods. This means that the 4p, 4d, and 4f houses will fill in back to back. This is a simplification as it fails to account for orbitals 5 and 6).
This activity includes the student version followed by the answer key within the same Microsoft Word file.
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