How Can Atoms Exist?
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How Can Atoms Exist?

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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?
  • 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

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

Intended Audience: Senior High (Gr 11-12)
Lesson Topics: Process of Science, Quantum, Waves
Price: Free

This individual lesson plan is part of the Revolutions in Science lesson compilation.