the Concord Consortium
the National Science Foundation
This concept-building activity contains a set of sequenced simulations for investigating how atoms can be excited to give off radiation (photons). Students explore 3-dimensional models to learn about the nature of photons as "wave packets" of light, how photons are emitted, and the connection between an atom's electron configuration and how it absorbs light.
Registered users are able to use free data capture tools to take snapshots, drag thumbnails, and submit responses.
This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology.
Please note that this resource requires
Java Applet Plug-in.
NextGen Science Standards Alignment
View alignments for this resource to NGSS standards in an easy-to-read table format. Includes Core Ideas, Performance Expectations, and Science Practices. download 29kb .docx
Published: March 1, 2013
atomic structure, atomic/molecular, energy levels, light, orbital model, photon, photon emission, standard model
Metadata instance created
August 21, 2012
by Caroline Hall
June 14, 2013
by Lyle Barbato
Last Update when Cataloged:
July 31, 2011
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
4E. Energy Transformations
9-12: 4E/H5. When energy of an isolated atom or molecule changes, it does so in a definite jump from one value to another, with no possible values in between. The change in energy occurs when light is absorbed or emitted, so the light also has distinct energy values. The light emitted or absorbed by separate atoms or molecules (as in a gas) can be used to identify what the substance is.
9-12: 4E/H7. Thermal energy in a system is associated with the disordered motions of its atoms or molecules. Gravitational energy is associated with the separation of mutually attracting masses. Electrical potential energy is associated with the separation of mutually attracting or repelling charges.
9-12: 4E/H9. Many forms of energy can be considered to be either kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion, or potential energy, which depends on the separation between mutually attracting or repelling objects.
6-8: 4F/M6. Light acts like a wave in many ways. And waves can explain how light behaves.
4G. Forces of Nature
9-12: 4G/H2b. At the atomic level, electric forces between electrons and protons in atoms hold molecules together and thus are involved in all chemical reactions.
9-12: 4G/H8. The motion of electrons is far more affected by electrical forces than protons are because electrons are much less massive and are outside of the nucleus.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
High School — Functions (9-12)
Interpreting Functions (9-12)
F-IF.6 Calculate and interpret the average rate of change of a function (presented symbolically or as a table) over a specified interval. Estimate the rate of change from a graph.
Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12
Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
Craft and Structure (6-12)
RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11—12 texts and topics.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
RST.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11—CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12
Text Types and Purposes (6-12)
1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. (WHST.11-12.1)
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Conservation of Energy Unit Title: Renewable Energy Sources
Help your students visualize what's going on when atoms undergo "excitation" and emit wave packets of light called photons. This set of classroom-tested computer simulations is highly recommended for promoting understanding of atomic processes in photon emission. Teachers: free registration allows your students to capture data, take snapshots, and submit work.
National Science Foundation. Concord Consortium: Excited States and Photons. Concord: The Concord Consortium, July 31, 2011. http://concord.org/stem-resources/excited-states-and-photons (accessed 1 May 2016).
Concord Consortium: Excited States and Photons. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010. 31 July 2011. National Science Foundation. 1 May 2016 <http://concord.org/stem-resources/excited-states-and-photons>.
%0 Electronic Source %D July 31, 2011 %T Concord Consortium: Excited States and Photons %I The Concord Consortium %V 2016 %N 1 May 2016 %8 July 31, 2011 %9 application/java %U http://concord.org/stem-resources/excited-states-and-photons
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