Education Technology

Physical Science: Build an Atom (MG)

by Texas Instruments - Simulation Lesson


  • Students will discover that atoms are made up of particles and that the number of particles in an atom affects its properties.
  • Students will learn that these particles - protons, neutrons, electrons - are found in specific locations in the atom.
  • Students will learn that neutrons have a neutral charge, protons a positive charge (+) and electrons a negative (-) charge; atoms become unstable with large imbalances between the charges.
  • Students will learn that an atom is neutral when there is the same number of protons as electrons; the charge of the atom becomes either positive or negative, depending on the net gain of either electrons (-) or protons (+).
  • Students will learn about how atomic number, mass, and net charge are determined.
  • Students will learn about the organization of the Periodic Table.


  • matter
  • atom
  • proton
  • neutron
  • electron
  • ion
  • atomic mass
  • atomic charge
  • atomic number
  • Periodic Table of Elements

About the Lesson

Adapted from a PhETTM simulation, this lesson involves students using TI-Nspire technology to simulate, observe, and manipulate the variables that affect the structure and, therefore, the properties of an atom.


As a result, student will:

  • Reinforce understanding of the structure of an atom.
  • Understand how changing particles numbers affects atoms.
  • Recognize how atomic mass, atomic number  and net charge are determined.
  • Apply understanding about the atom to the organization of the Periodic Table.
PhET is a trademark owned by the Regents of the University of Colorado, which was not involved in the production of, nor do they endorse this product.