Monday, July 11, 2016

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Chemistry for Kids: Edible Atom Models

I've been teaching a chemistry for kids class for my 3rd/4th grader (with my preschoolers popping in for experiments that they could appreciate), and making these edible atom molecules has been one of the highlights!

Honestly, I did not expect my preschoolers to appreciate the concept of atoms, but they happened to be in as I explained it, and they have asked questions about it all week. Just this morning, my just-turned-six year old explained to me, "Everything in the world is made from atoms, but they are so small we cannot see them. But if you get a whole bunch of them together you can see them! Atoms are like one little LEGO brick, and if you get a whole bunch you can build things. Atoms build everything!" Exactly, little buddy!

Anyway, I don't usually share activies that I create specifically for my older kids, but this generated so much (unexpected!) interest for my younger ones too, that I decided you might enjoy it!

Introducing the concept of atoms turned out to be really easy, probably because kids in 2016 are already accustomed to the idea of big things being made from little things (thank you LEGO and Minecraft!). They totally accepted the idea of everything being built from invisible building blocks called atoms and, of course, were curious what they looked like!

My older kids found atoms on a periodic table and filled out the information on this edible atom model sheet before they built their atom. After they filled it out, they chose two different colors of mini marshmallows to represent protons and neutrons, and put the mini marshmallow protons and neutrons in the atom's nucleus. Then they counted out chocolate chips for electrons. I let the younger kids (preschool and kindergarten) just put two different colored marshmallows inside the nucleus to represent protons and neutrons, and then place chocolate chips on the "energy levels." {Sidenote: we only talked about the first three energy levels because the others are more complicated. My "older" kids did learn that the first evergy level holds two electrons, the second 8, and the third 18.} Knowing that all matter (solids, liquids, and gasses) is made from atoms and that atoms have parts (protons, neutrons, and electrons) is plenty for our preschoolers!

Plus, they love making edible atom models! Actually, they love making edible anything!

I put our edible atom model page HERE for {FREE}! You're welcome to use it with your own kiddos and/or in a classroom! If you want to share it, please link to this blog post and not the actual document. Thank you!!

And if you're looking for more science activities, check out my collection of more than 150 science and STEM experiments and activities! They are perfect for preschool and older kids too!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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