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content provider: the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
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In this classroom activity, learners construct a wobbly model of a crystal array to investigate the attractive interaction between neighboring atoms in a solid. By using this less traditional model, students explore chemical bonds as analogous to a stretched or compressed spring. Gently shaking the model shows how stored energy can be communicated to the next layer of atoms. Vigorous shaking causes the model to break apart, representing the breaking of chemical bonds.

See Related Materials for a link to a Flash animation that helps learners visualize the atomic structure of metals and how the chemical bonds are impacted by bending and heating.


This item is part of a much larger collection of physics/astronomy experiments, sponsored by the UK's Institute of Physics and funded by the Nuffield Curriculum Centre.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
= Atomic Models
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
- Middle School
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Model
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Safety Warnings
Safety Gloves Must be worn   Minimal Danger   No Safety Equipment Necessary  


Intended Users:
Learner
Educator
Format:
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2006 The Nuffield Foundation
Additional information is available.
Keywords:
atomic model, chemical bonds, crystal, ionic bonds, practical physics
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created August 16, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
March 8, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
April 16, 2010

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
  • 6-8: 4D/M1cd. Atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
  • 6-8: 4D/M3ab. Atoms and molecules are perpetually in motion. Increased temperature means greater average energy of motion, so most substances expand when heated.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 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.
  • 6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model
Unit Title: Teaching Nanoscale Science

Check out this untraditional model for investigating the attractive interaction between neighboring atoms. Students explore chemical bonds as analogous to a stretched or compressed spring. Gently shaking the model shows how stored energy is released. Shake it vigorously and the model breaks....representing the breaking of chemical bonds.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre, (2006), WWW Document, (http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid).
AJP/PRST-PER
Nuffield Curriculum Centre, Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid (2006), <http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid>.
APA Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. (2010, April 16). Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid. Retrieved September 2, 2014, from http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid
Chicago Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid. April 16, 2010. http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid (accessed 2 September 2014).
MLA Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid. 2006. 16 Apr. 2010. Nuffield Curriculum Centre. 2 Sep. 2014 <http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Nuffield Curriculum Centre", Title = {Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {2 September 2014}, Month = {April 16, 2010}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%Q Nuffield Curriculum Centre
%T Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid
%D April 16, 2010
%U http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Nuffield Curriculum Centre,
%D April 16, 2010
%T Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid
%V 2014
%N 2 September 2014
%8 April 16, 2010
%9 text/html
%U http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics/model-vibrating-atoms-solid


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Practical Physics: A Model of Vibrating Atoms in a Solid:

Same topic as Teachers' Domain: The Structure of Metal

This Flash animation provides further visualization of what happens at the atomic level when chemical bonds are formed and broken in a metallic structure.

relation by Caroline Hall

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