Curriculum Standards (Ohio)

What will students learn as a result of this lesson?

Physical Science Standards Addressed

  • Describe that matter is made of minute particles called atoms and atoms are comprised of even smaller compounds. Explain the structure and properties of atoms.
  • Explain how atoms react with each other to form other substances and how molecules react with each other or other atoms to form even difference substances.
  • Trace the historical development of scientific theories and ideas, and describe emerging issues in the study of physical sciences.
  • Explain how atoms and molecules can gain or lose energy in particular discrete amounts (quanta or packets; therefore they can only absorb or emit light at the wavelengths corresponding to these amounts.
  • Use historical examples to explain how new ideas are limited by the context in which they are conceived; are often initially rejected by the scientific establishment; sometimes spring from unexpected findings; and usually grow slowly through contributions form many different investigators (e.g., atomic theory, quantum theory, nuclear energy).
  • Describe concepts/ideas in physical sciences that have important, long-lasting effects on science and society (e.g., atomic theory, quantum theory, nuclear energy).

Although, I have listed several standards that this lesson covers, one of the main ideas that I want students to realize is that an individual scientist does not start from scratch. They build there work on what has already been discovered. That sometimes other scientist’s (or investigators) might not agree with them. For example, Democritus and the atom – Aristotle did not think his idea had merit and so most people believed him and not much happen with the concept of the atom for 2000 years. And then Dalton continued from that initial concept of the atom. Then Thomson, Rutherford, Bohr, Schrödinger all contributed to the current concept of the atom – all of them taking the previous theory of the atom and changing, revising, adding and deleting parts of the theory. For example, Dalton thought the atom was indivisible – we now know that is divisible. The atomic model is a dynamic one – in that nothing is constant. The students should hopefully start to get the sense of how exciting science and research is.  Imagine what Rutherford thought when electrons bounced back, instead of going straight through in his gold foil experiment? He used the example to describe his feelings by saying “it was like shooting a bullet at a piece of tissue paper and having it bounce back at you”. One of the labs that fits in well with this unit is the Flame Lab; the students actually can see what happens when electrons change energy levels (quantum theory).


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