Integrating Technology: Seeing Atoms: STM

9th - 11th

In this atom worksheet, students learn about the scanning tunneling microscope and answer questions about its use, how it works and its ability to see electrons in atoms.

Resource Details


Be a Scanning Probe Microscope

Extensive reading is done in order to learn about scanning probe microscopy and nanoscale. Afterward, individuals use a pencil to probe an unidentified object that is inside of a box so that they cannot see it. Using only what they could gather via the probe, they draw the object. 

Measuring with a Microscope

After considering the importance of scale, microbiologists measure the field of view for the 40X and 100X objectives of a compound light microscope. With this information, they calculate the size of a paramecium and a corn stem cell. They also calculate the field of view for the high power objective so that they can use it to determine size. Because of the math and cognitive ability required, the lesson plan is geared toward high school biology scholars. A well-written lab sheet is provided.

A Model of a Scanning Tunneling Microscope

Ninth graders explain how a scanning tunneling microscope works. In this chemistry instructional activity, 9th graders construct atomic models and simulate how their images appear under the STM. They discuss the limitations of their atomic model.

Thinking with the Eyes

What does a human hair look like at 40 times its normal size? Young scientists find out the answer to that question and more in an introductory microscope activity. In the description, it says the investigation is intended for ninth grade honors biology, but it seems more appropriate for middle level life science, or wherever learners are introduced to microscope use in your district.

Chemistry Review

In this chemistry review worksheet, students read about atoms and the periodic table and they complete a chart using the periodic table to find the atomic number, atomic mass and group of given elements. Students answer 5 questions about the elements and they make a bar graph of the mass numbers of the 10 most common elements in living organisms.

Light Microscopes

Seventh graders study the parts of a light microscope, and its proper use. They identify each part and explain why it is important to know how to use this tool. They practice observing newsprint on a wet mount slide.

Tools of Magnification

Life science learners need to be able to use a microscope. With this comprehensive resource, they first experience how lenses and magnification work, and then get familiar with using a compound microscope. Tremendous background information, detailed set-up and procedure instructions, and even a video that acts as a teaching guide, work together to thoroughly prepare you to implement this classic and vital lesson. 

The Virtual Electron Microscope

Students explore the world of the very small using a Flash plug-in Virtual Electron Microscope. They complete and discuss an activity in which unknown samples are placed under the computer simulated microscope to determine where the cells came from. Hints for cell types and a self checking system make this seem like a game.

What is an Atom?

Third graders understand that the smallest particle is an atom. In this matter instructional activity, 3rd graders make a piece of aluminum smaller and smaller to see that what's left is still aluminum. Students recognize that cutting into smaller pieces can't change aluminum but removing atoms can.

Virtual Electron Microscope

Young scholars study the basic differences between plant and animal cells and how microscopes have contributed to our knowledge of science.  In this microscope instructional activity students view images on the Internet and complete a Virtual Electron Microscope activity. 

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