How to Build a Model of an Atom for a Science Project

Written by regina edwards
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Show the atomic structure of an element as your science project. The centre of the atom is the nucleus, containing protons and neutrons. The Bohr model of the atom describes a configuration of electrons in three-dimensional orbits of varying energy levels around the nucleus. You can create a model of an atom with a simplified Bohr representation of electrons using supplies from craft and hobby stores for a science project. While the model itself can depict the atom, adding posters about your model will transform your craft to a science project.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Periodic table
  • Cotton pom-poms (two colours)
  • Craft glue
  • Shallow, clear plastic bowl or cup
  • Soft fibre filling
  • Beads or pellets
  • Optional: Thread or yarn

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  1. 1

    Determine the number of protons, neutrons and electrons for your element from information in the periodic table of the elements.

  2. 2

    Collect the required number of pom-poms for protons and neutrons. For example, carbon contains six protons and six neutrons; six red pom-poms and six yellow pom-poms would designate protons and neutrons respectively.

  3. 3

    Collect the required number of beads or pellets for electrons and set them aside. For example, because carbon contains six electrons, you'd set aside six beads.

  4. 4

    Glue the proton and neutron pom-poms together to form a ball (nucleus); allow the glue to dry.

  5. 5

    Glue the pom-pom nucleus to the bottom of a clear, shallow cup and allow it to dry.

  6. 6

    Glue a thick layer of fibre filling around the outside of the cup to represent the cloud of energy around the nucleus.

  7. 7

    Glue the beads at various locations on the fibre filling to represent electrons in varying electron levels or shells.

  8. 8

    Attach thread or yarn to the cup if you'd like to hang the display.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider constructing models of isotopes to show the differences (isotopes have the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons).
  • Consider gluing two small pieces of yarn to each proton pom-pom to form a "+" sign to identify polarity.

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