13 Jan 2014

The Atomic Building

In-Class Activity

Submitted by Amandeep Sra, University of Texas at Dallas
Course Level: 

Description: This is an in class activity I use for first year general chemistry students to understand the relationship between quantum numbers and the structure of the atom.


PDF icon atomicbuilding.pdf116.02 KB
Learning Goals: 
  • Students should be able to define orbitals.
  • Students should be able to understand the allowed values of the quantum numbers, n, l and ml.
  • Students should be able to assign quantum numbers to an orbital and use quantum numbers to identify an orbital.
  • Students should be able to define the energy levels of electrons in the hydrogen atom.


Equipment needs: 


Implementation Notes: 

The students are given the challenge of designing a state of the art “Atomic Building” for UT Dallas by following a certain set of guidelines:

  1. The shape of the building looks like an inverted skyscraper.
  2. Each floor in the atomic building accommodates certain number of classrooms.
  3. The number and the name of each classroom is determined by following the quantum num ber rules for n and l.
  4. Each classroom is fitted with specially designed benches that can accommodate a maximum of only two students. The number of benches in each classroom is determined by the quantum number ml.


This activity can also be extended to introduce the Pauli’s exclusion principle.

Time Required: 
15 minutes for the in class activity and another 10-15 minutes for discussion
Evaluation Methods: 

I did no formal assessment on this activity.

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence

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