Students use the APH Periodic Table and AZER Reference Booklet to build an atom of an element given only the element symbol or atomic number. Both are available on Quota Funds - See links in materials section below.
Students are given an atomic number, element symbol, or element name and must determine from the AZER Periodic Table Reference Booklet how many protons, neutrons, and electrons are needed. Students must identify the element. The students will then create an accurate model using a hula hoop as the nucleus and themselves as the parts of the atom.
This activity is designed as a review of concepts related to basic atomic structure. Students will need a review of these concept,s as well as a review of the AZER model with which they have learned these concepts.
This review allows students to do both and to work independently during the review.
Students use the APH atom model to both become familiar with the concept of atomic number and mass number and to display (model) their understanding of these concepts. These concepts are much clearer and more concrete for students who are blind or visually impaired when taught with a model. I find the APH model to be an excellent resource. The atom model is part of the Azer Periodic Table Set (link) and can also be purchased separately
While considering what I might use to better explain the concept of the atom as the smallest unit of matter, I asked my daughter, Sasha, what she would recommend that I use to represent atoms to the students. I needed something that could easily be taken apart and would leave each "atom" separate. Legos, as my daughter recommended, proved to be an approrpriate (and fun) choice.
Though models are invaluable for science instruction of students with visual impairment, students should be taught that models are not usually a perfect representation. Models often have weaknesses that must be understood in order to best grasp the concepts taught.
After initial instruction on the structure of the atom using the Azer model and the science text for the class, the following activity will help students understand better the relative distance between the nucleus of an atom and the electron levels.