How Can Atoms Exist? (Extended Lesson)

Students examine the classical planetary model of the atom and are confronted with evidence, via computer simulations, showing that it is fundamentally flawed. Students are then introduced to alternative models that make use of our knowledge of quantum mechanics and the wave nature of electrons.



  • Lesson plans: How Can Atoms Exist? (Extended Lesson Plan)
  • Videos: Alice & Bob: How Can Atoms Exist? (approx. 1 min)
  • Activities: Scientific Models: The Atom; Scientific Revolution: Quantum Mechanics (worksheets, review questions, and solutions)
  • Supplementary Materials: How to Build a Black Box Model
  • Teacher-supplied Materials: Computer lab, ball, ring, coiled springs

åÊ(Note: all lesson plans and worksheets provided as PDFs and modifiable MS Word documents)