University of Virginia
Physics Department

Not So "Bohr"-ing Atoms

A Physical Science Activity

Student Activity




  1. Decide who in your group will start with each job. The jobs include:
    • Researcher-locates the assigned atom on the periodic table and ascertains the atomic number, atomic mass.
    • Calculator-Calculates the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in the atom.
    • Designer-Decides on the position and arrangement of the parts of the atom to be constructed.
    • Builder-Places the bulbs in the designated positions on the Light Brite.
  2. Construct the first atom assigned by the teacher on the Light Brite. The bulbs for the protons and neutrons should be grouped as a nucleus at the center of the Light Brite board. The bulbs representing electrons should be distributed around the nucleus according to the accepted valence arrangement. When your group completes construction of an atom, request that the teacher inspect the work. Once the teacher approves the model, each student should sketch the arrangement on the "Data Sheet".
  3. For each of the subsequent atoms, rotate within the group so everyone fulfills each responsibility.


Data Sheet


Atom #1 _______________

Atom #2 _______________



Atom #3 _______________

Atom #4 _______________