top of page
Atomic Structure: Building Atoms—A Teaching Game

This game will help you visualize the electron arrangement for 26 different atoms. Using cards depicting Bohr models of atoms, students earn points by completing the outer (valence) electrons. By playing this game students will learn the arrangement of electrons in the atoms. They’ll see that electrons orbit the nucleus at different energy levels, called shells which can hold different amounts of electrons. 


Games are a great way to help students internalize difficult information and concepts. Here they’re engaging with the pattern of electron arrangement. Since this understanding is quite complex, it tends to take time and multiple activities to solidify for most students and games are a valuable addition to your teaching collection. As students continue their study of atoms, they need to give special attention to any electrons that are in an atom’s outer shell and this game is a great starting point.


Note: You will have to collect objects to represent electrons—washers, flat marbles, centimeter cubes, etc. Suggestions are given in the activity. Cards need to be copied and laminated (optional). 


Use this to learn and reinforce answers to questions such as:

❑  How are electrons arranged in different atoms?

❑  How can electron arrangement be diagramed?

❑  How many electrons does the first shell hold? The second? etc.


Once students play the game, they can capture their observations using the included Lab Notes or probing questions included in the instructions. 


Concepts Addressed

♦  Each element has a unique number of electrons.

♦  Different shells hold different amounts of electrons.

♦  The shells of atoms can hold increasing numbers of electrons.


Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.


Materials Needed   Nonconsummables: Game cards (copied and laminated); small game pieces to use as electrons, about 120 per game.


Prep Time   Collecting electron pieces and photocopying the game cards and the student data sheets. Game cards and electron pieces can be reused for other activities in this series. 


Teaching Time   About 40 mins.


Student Sheets   Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 

Atomic Structure: Building Atoms—A Teaching Game


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

    Connect with me: If you have questions or problems, please let me know and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


    This resource (along with all resources sold on this site) can be found inside the membership. For information on that option, click here.

    Terms of Use   Copyright © Carolyn Balch. All rights reserved by the author. This product is to be used by the original downloader only. Copying for more than one teacher, classroom, department, school, or school system is prohibited. This product may not be distributed or displayed digitally for public view. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.

    Related Products