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Calculate the Energy!
This activity describes the basic structure of an atom using an edible model and explains the quantum mechanical nature of the atom. For example, originally, each electron orbital was pictured as having a specific radius, much like a planetary orbit in the solar system. However, the modern view is not so simple. Though each orbital does have a precise energy, the electron is now envisioned as being smeared out in an electron cloud surrounding the nucleus. Students will calculate the energy differences in different energy states of the Bohr atom of hydrogen and compare these energy levels with observed hydrogen lines in a laboratory spectrum.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
If using the HEASARC service made a significant contribution to a research project, please make the following acknowledgement in any resulting publication: This research has made use of data obtained from the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), provided by NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center. Please send a preprint or reprint of the paper to: The HEASARC Code 660.2 NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland, 20771, USA
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-980
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • B - Physical science:
        • Structure of atoms
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center