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Students investigate atomic structure of ions, cations, and balanced atoms through this worksheet. This activity guides students as they use the PhET "Build an Atom" interactive. Students review key concepts, including valence electrons, protons, neutrons, net charge, atomic number, atomic symbol, and elements.
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Here is a sample of the worksheet:
4. After playing for a short time, reset the interactive by pressing the orange circle in the bottom right.
Load the Atom page. Expand the sections (on the right) titled “Net Charge” and “Mass Number” by clicking on the green plus symbol.
5. Build a hydrogen atom by dragging ONE proton and ONE electron from the buckets.
a. How many valence electrons does this atom have?
b. What is the net charge (total charge) of this atom? And, why does it have this charge?
c. Drag the electron back to the bucket. What is the net charge, now? Why?
d. Is the atom still a hydrogen after taking the electron away? Why? Which subatomic particle would you have to
change in order to make it something other than hydrogen?
e. What is the name of the atom now? (See the red writing just above the electron orbital shells.)
6. Build a neutral oxygen atom by adding subatomic particles from the buckets. The number of protons should equal the number of neutrons.
a. Make sure that they net charge of this atom is neutral. Why does it have this charge?
b. How many valence electrons does this atom have? (The answer is greater than 2.)
c. Drag two electrons to the atom. What is the net charge, now? Why?
d. How many valence electrons does this oxygen ion have now?