Scattering Experiment: Rutherford Scattering

In this lesson, students participate in four hands-on activities to develop their understanding of Rutherford‰۪s gold foil experiment, which shows that every atom contains a positively-charged nucleus that contains most of the mass of the atom. These activities are suitable for students at a variety of levels and are completed without the use of mathematics.


  • Lesson plans: Scattering Experiment
  • Videos: Beyond the Atom: Remodelling Particle Physics (approx. 30 min)
  • Activities: Scattering Experiment (worksheet and solutions)
  • Supplementary Materials: Predict, Observe, Explain
  • Teacher-provided Materials: Balloons, thread, wine glass, modeling clay, metal track and ball

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