Grade: Middle
Subject: Science

#3701. Electron Square Dance

Science, level: Middle
Posted Mon Mar 13 17:18:28 PST 2006 by Jesse J. Durdel (jessedurdel@yahoo).
Science Teacher, Mattoon, IL
Materials Required: Music, Paper, Pencil, and Patience
Activity Time: 45 minutes
Concepts Taught: Atomic structure

Date: 9/21/2005

Lesson Plan Title: Electron square dance!

Teacher Purpose: 12.C.4b Analyze and explain the atomic and nuclear structure of matter. (Illinois State Science Goals)

Objective(s): Students will learn the basic structure of the atom and its subatomic particles.

Materials: Construction paper, Markers, square dance music.

Mark the construction paper with the different charges. Have several (+), (-), and (No Charge) signs ready for your subatomic particles.
Also, have a sign for "Na" and "Cl" for nuclei when describing ions.

Procedure: Have students act out the roles of protons, neutrons, and electrons of Helium.
When playing music, the electrons "dance" around the nucleus of the atom.
When music is paused, go over the structures of the atom.

Helium atom: atomic number = 2 Atomic wt = 4

Protons = 2 people
Neutrons = 2 people
Electrons = 2 people

Subatomic particles proton (+), neutron (no charge), and electron (-)
Nucleus (proton + neutron)
Orbits (electrons)
Isotopes (add people to nucleus) (discuss radioactivity)

Have 2 helium atoms

Chemical bonds:
Ionic bond: Have one or two students become the nucleus for Na and Cl, give them both electron people. Explain Cl tends to have a stronger attraction to electrons than Na. Now Na and Cl are Ions, have students say what charge they are. (Na+, Cl-)

Assessment Tool: This material will be on a quiz and test for chapter 2.

Follow-up: Assign Q. 1-6 on page 39

Student Teacher self-assessment and reflection of "The Electron Square Dance"
From the few weeks I have been teaching, one lesson stands out from the rest in its need for reflection. An activity I designed called "the electron square dance" involved the students physically acting out the parts of an atom. Students played the parts of the protons, neutrons, and electrons of various atoms. The students moved about while I played the song "Cotton Eyed Joe" by the Rednex on the stereo. When I stopped the music, I would review whatever structure the students had constructed with their bodies. The basics of chemistry and atomic structure are fundamental in the life sciences, and since I teach an introductory biology course, this unit is a critical base which several of the subsequent topics are built upon. In other words, in order for the students to fully comprehend upcoming information in the class, they must have an understanding of the atomic structure and chemical interactions.
The objective of the lesson was summed up in the state goal 12.C.4b; (analyze and explain the atomic and nuclear structure of matter). As stated before, I had students acting the parts of subatomic particles. The lesson required the students to talk to each other, move about, and mess with each other. My cooperating teacher had said that freshmen are naturals at those three activities, and a great lesson could incorporate the students' abilities to do so.
The student evaluation of the project came from a feedback session I had my students participate in the following day. Most of the students enjoyed the activity, and let me know that they had an easier time visualizing the structure of atoms and the relationships of the subatomic particles, which in turn fulfills the objective of the state goal. In the feedback session the students were also allowed to write down negative feedback as well, under the condition that they provided a constructive solution to their problem. I had many constructive suggestions as well, and for the most part, they involved the music, and the fact that all of the students were required to participate. Overall my impression was that the students thought the lesson was informative and fun.
If I were to present this lesson again, I would take under consideration the feedback I received from my students. The students requested several songs that they would much rather move along to than my 1993 techno-country. I would also have used another teaching tactic; the exit pass. This would be their pass to leave the room, a slip of paper with their name and something they learned on it. I would like to do this immediately after the lesson to reinforce the concepts they just learned about, and I could immediately assess the effectiveness of the context presented in which it was presented.