Carbon atom

An interactive lab where students assemble their own carbon atom given the number of protons and neutrons.

This lesson is a part of MEL VR Science Simulations. Learn more →

Similar lessons


Teacher's notes


car­bon, atom, nu­cle­us, pro­ton, neu­tron, elec­tron, elec­tron or­bital, elec­tron con­fig­u­ra­tion di­a­gram, s-or­bital, p-or­bital

Stu­dents will

  • Con­struct a car­bon atom know­ing the num­ber of pro­tons and neu­trons in its nu­cle­us
  • Re­view elec­troneu­tral­i­ty and cal­cu­late the num­ber of elec­trons in a car­bon atom
  • Re­view elec­tron or­bital names, shapes, and or­der of ap­pear­ance
  • Re­view elec­tron con­fig­u­ra­tion di­a­grams

The lab pri­mar­i­ly serves as a skill builder for elec­tron con­fig­u­ra­tion. It can be used in a va­ri­ety of top­ics through­out the cur­ricu­lum: pe­ri­od­ic­i­ty and prop­er­ties, gi­ant co­va­lent struc­tures, ba­sic con­cepts in or­gan­ic chem­istry.

Top­ics to dis­cuss

  • Elec­troneu­tral­i­ty of an atom
  • The Auf­bau prin­ci­ple, Pauli ex­clu­sion, & Hund's rule
  • En­er­gy lev­els
  • Or­gan­ic chem­istry is the chem­istry of car­bon
  • The struc­ture of a car­bon atom and its abil­i­ty to form bonds