Now that students know that electron behavior in atoms is described using orbitals, it is time to learn the orbitals' names. Students will see electrons added to an atom one by one and learn the names of the orbitals.
This lesson is a part of MEL VR Science Simulations. Learn more →
electrons, electron shells, orbitals, s-orbital, px-, py-, pz-orbitals
- Recall that electrons in atoms are on differently-shaped orbitals
- Learn that one orbital can fit two electrons
- See in what order orbitals are filled with electrons
- Learn orbital names
The aim is to give students a “real life” analogy to the order in which electrons appear.
Students are given a “hotel activity sheet” and are asked to allocate guests in the hotel according to the rules.
Rules for guests:
- No more than 2 guests per room.
- The lift is broken, and the guests are lazy: they will always try to get a place in a room closest to the ground floor.
- Guests will try to avoid neighbors if it doesn't cause them to use the staircase.
History and sources of knowledge
- Quantum theory: description, computational models.
- Atomic spectra with shell series. Zeeman and Stark effects clearly show the number of p-, d-, and f-orbitals.
Topics to discuss
- How can we trust theories about things we can't see?
- Quantum theory
- Rules for electrons: Pauli Exclusion Principle, Aufbau Principle, & Hund's Rule
Fun facts and quotes
Names of the orbitals: s-, p-, d-, and f- can seem like a random set of letters. Early spectroscopists who researched the series in spectra of alkali metals could see different sets of lines for each electron shell. They categorized these lines as sharp, principal, diffuse, and fundamental. The orbitals were named after the corresponding sets of lines.
- How many electrons can fit into one orbital?
- What is the electron fitting order for a lithium atom?
Please see below for the link to a Google form containing a quiz on materials from two lessons: Electron Orbitals and Orbital Names.
This can be assigned during class time or as homework. The quizzes are marked and the system shows which questions students get correct and incorrect. Please note that students should record their scores, as they will not be viewable later.