Ch 3: The Atom & Atomic Structure: Physical Science Help & Review

About This Chapter

The Understanding the Atom and Atomic Structure chapter of this High School Physical Science Help and Review course is the simplest way to master the atom and atomic structure. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure students learn the essentials of the atom and atomic structure.

Who's it for?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering high school physical science material will benefit from taking this course. There is no faster or easier way to learn high school physical science. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who have fallen behind in understanding and describing types of reactions or theories related to the atom and atomic structure
  • Students who struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning science (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who need an efficient way to learn about the atom and atomic structure
  • Students who struggle to understand their teachers
  • Students who attend schools without extra science learning resources

How it works:

  • Find videos in our course that cover what you need to learn or review.
  • Press play and watch the video lesson.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
  • Verify you're ready by completing the Understanding the Atom and Atomic Structure chapter exam.

Why it works:

  • Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Use the Understanding the Atom and Atomic Structure chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any atom and atomic structure question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students will review:

This chapter helps students review the concepts in an atom and atomic structure unit of a standard high school physical science course. Topics covered include:

  • The atom
  • Atomic number and mass number
  • Early atomic theory
  • Isotopes and related average atomic mass
  • Electron configurations for atomic energy levels
  • Rules of atomic structures
  • The law of conservation of mass
  • Diamagnetism and paramagnetism
  • Four quantum numbers
  • The de Broglie hypothesis
  • Ionic bonds
  • Process of building compounds and molecules from elements
  • Polar and nonpolar covalent bonds
  • Use of atoms and ions to determine molecular formulas
  • Definition and functions of elements

17 Lessons in Chapter 3: The Atom & Atomic Structure: Physical Science Help & Review
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Atom

1. The Atom

The physical basis that everything is composed of is called matter and the smallest unit of matter is called an atom. Learn about the atom, subatomic particles, the nucleus, elements, and the periodic table.

Atomic Number and Mass Number

2. Atomic Number and Mass Number

An atom is defined as the smallest particle of an element that displays the same properties of that element. Learn about the main components of an atom (protons, neutrons, & electrons), the characteristics of each component, and how to determine the atomic number and the mass number of an atom.

Early Atomic Theory: Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford and Millikan

3. Early Atomic Theory: Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford and Millikan

The current knowledge of atoms and atomic theory has been informed by many scientists going back to Aristotle and Democritus. Learn about the contributions made to early atomic theory by scientists working in more recent times, such as Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford, and Millikan.

Isotopes and Average Atomic Mass

4. Isotopes and Average Atomic Mass

Isotopes are variations of the same element with differing numbers of neutrons and, subsequently, different atomic masses. Learn how scientists consider isotopes when they calculate average atomic mass.

Electron Configurations in Atomic Energy Levels

5. Electron Configurations in Atomic Energy Levels

Electron configuration is the representation of how the electrons in an atom are arranged, which can be used to predict the properties of an element. Learn about patterns of energy levels in elements on the periodic table, how to identify the number of electrons in a neutral atom, and how to write an electron configuration for neutral atoms.

Hund's Rule, the Pauli Exclusion Principle & the Aufbau Principle

6. Hund's Rule, the Pauli Exclusion Principle & the Aufbau Principle

Three rules that help define electron positions within an atom are Hund's Rule, the Pauli exclusion principle, and the Aufbau principle. Discover how these inform quantum physics, the arrangement of electrons, and the order in which shells and sub shells are occupied.

The Law of Conservation of Mass: Definition, Equation & Examples

7. The Law of Conservation of Mass: Definition, Equation & Examples

The law of conservation of mass affirms that mass within a closed system must stay the same the over time. Discover more about the law of conservation of mass, including its importance, equations, and some examples of this law in action.

Diamagnetism & Paramagnetism: Definition & Explanation

8. Diamagnetism & Paramagnetism: Definition & Explanation

Diamagnetism and paramagnetism are important concepts in understanding atomic structure. Learn about electron configuration, and then learn about diamagnetism and paramagnetism and how these differ from one another.

Four Quantum Numbers: Principal, Angular Momentum, Magnetic & Spin

9. Four Quantum Numbers: Principal, Angular Momentum, Magnetic & Spin

Quantum numbers describe specific properties of an electron. Learn about atomic orbital, the four quantum numbers (principal, angular momentum, magnetic, and spin), and how to write quantum numbers based on electron configuration.

The de Broglie Hypothesis: Definition & Significance

10. The de Broglie Hypothesis: Definition & Significance

The de Broglie hypothesis proposes that matter can exhibit both wave and particle behavior. Learn more about the implications of the de Broglie hypothesis and how to derive the equation, which actually is a combination of two others by Albert Einstein and another physicist.

Ionic Bonds: Definitions and Examples

11. Ionic Bonds: Definitions and Examples

Ions are charged atoms that can gain or lose electrons; an ionic bond refers to the formation between a cation and an anion. Explore different examples of ionic bonds, and understand the differences between neutral atoms, anions, and cations.

How Compounds and Molecules Are Built From Elements

12. How Compounds and Molecules Are Built From Elements

Compounds and molecules are built from elements composed of at least two atoms joined with a chemical bond. Learn how elemental personalities build compounds and molecules, explore ionic and covalent chemical bonds, and compare pure substances to mixtures.

Polar and Nonpolar Covalent Bonds: Definitions and Examples

13. Polar and Nonpolar Covalent Bonds: Definitions and Examples

Atoms have a variety of bonds that affect whether and how they share electrons. Learn about polar and nonpolar covalent bonds through examples, and explore peptide bonds, electronegativity, and how to use electronegativity to predict bonding types.

Using Atoms and Ions to Determine Molecular Formulas

14. Using Atoms and Ions to Determine Molecular Formulas

Molecular formulas are determined using atoms and ions. Learn about different molecular formulas and understand that ions also can determine formulas. Understand coefficients and ionic compounds, and use ionic compounds to explain molecular formulas.

What Are Elements?

15. What Are Elements?

An element is a unique type of matter which cannot be separated into parts that are different from the initial element. Learn how elements are represented through symbols, the particles (atoms) that make up elements, and how elements can combine to create different items in the real world.

Atomic Theory: Definition, History & Timeline

16. Atomic Theory: Definition, History & Timeline

Imagine developing a concept without any physical evidence or laws to guide your theory! Early atomic theory relied solely on observation, hypothesis and experimentation. Let's visit some of the scientists and discoveries leading to what we know today.

J.J. Thomson: Biography, Facts & Atomic Theory

17. J.J. Thomson: Biography, Facts & Atomic Theory

J.J. Thomson's theories, models, and discoveries relating to electrons and the atomic model of the atom impact our understanding of chemistry today. Below we will explore his life, his discoveries, and his model of the atom.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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