Oxygen atom

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

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

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Teacher's notes


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

Stu­dents will

  • Con­struct an oxy­gen atom know­ing how many pro­tons, neu­trons, and elec­trons the oxy­gen atom has
  • Re­view elec­tron or­bital names, shapes, and or­der of ap­pear­ance
  • Re­view elec­tron con­fig­u­ra­tion di­a­grams

The lab serves pri­mar­i­ly as a skill builder for elec­tron con­fig­u­ra­tion. It can be used in a va­ri­ety of top­ics through­out the cur­ricu­lum: pe­ri­od­ic­i­ty and prop­er­ties, ox­ides, or­gan­ic chem­istry (struc­ture of func­tion­al groups).

Hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties

Be­fore VR

Burn­ing a smol­der­ing splint in pure oxy­gen.

Top­ics to dis­cuss

  • The oxy­gen con­tent on Earth
  • Oxy­gen struc­ture and the for­ma­tion of ox­ides

Fun facts and quotes

  • All oxy­gen in the Earth's at­mos­phere ap­peared as a re­sult of pho­to­syn­the­sis. Be­fore the first pho­to­syn­the­sis­ing or­gan­isms ap­peared, the Earth's at­mos­phere didn't con­tain any free oxy­gen mol­e­cules.
  • Oxy­gen is the third most abun­dant el­e­ment in the Uni­verse.
  • Oxy­gen is the most abun­dant el­e­ment in the Earth’s crust.