Atomic Number Lesson Plan

Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Learning about subatomic particles can be dull; however, this lesson plan allows students to learn all of the associated vocabulary in fun, interactive ways while also focusing on class- and team-building activities.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Determine the number of protons, neutrons and electrons of an element by using the periodic table.
  • List the location, charge and names of subatomic particles in atoms.
  • Define the key vocabulary terms associated with this lesson.


  • 100 minutes

Curriculum Standards


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 9-10 texts and topics.


Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).


Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.

Materials (for 24 students)

NOTE: If you have more than 24 students, go higher than the number 12 (for example, if you have 30 students, you will need to go to the number 15 for all of the materials below)

  • Pencils, markers, colored pencils, scissors and a stapler
  • Sticky notes
  • Notecards numbered 1 through 12 (each notecard has a different number)
  • Notecards labeled with the first 12 element symbols on the periodic table (each notecard has a different element)
  • Notecards with the number of neutrons for the first 12 elements written on them (one number per notecard)
  • Periodic table, one per student
  • 24 notecards with the key vocabulary terms written on them (each term will be written twice or even more if greater than 24 students)
  • Access to the video lesson Atomic Number and Mass Number
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one per student.

Key Vocabulary Terms

  • Atom
  • Atomic Mass Unit (amu)
  • Atomic Number
  • Electrons
  • Element
  • Isotopes
  • Mass Number
  • Neutron
  • Nucleus
  • Periodic Table
  • Protons
  • Subatomic Particles

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