Atomic Structure Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

The atom is a basic unit of matter. In this helpful lesson, your students will view a video lesson on the atom, take a related quiz, and finally take part in a fun hands-on activity to reinforce newly learned concepts about the atom.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson on the atom, your students will be able to:

  • Describe the three subatomic particles in an atom
  • Explain the differences between protons, neutrons, and electrons
  • Recap the characteristics of elements in the Periodic Table


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Equipment for watching The Atom video lesson
  • Copies of the lesson quiz/worksheet, one for each student
  • 10 envelopes, each with one of the following elements written on them:
    • Neon
    • Calcium
    • Zinc
    • Zirconium
    • Tin
    • Neodymium
    • Ytterbium
    • Mercury
    • Thorium
    • Fermium
  • 5 envelopes with any other elements written on them (these will be red herrings, which your students will have to figure out)
  • Copies of the clue worksheet (described in the Activity), one for each group
  • Internet access
  • Key
  • Lockbox
  • Periodic Table
  • Costumes (such as safety glasses, science lab coats, magnifying glasses, etc.) - optional
  • Small prizes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.

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