Captain Isaac Lopez's Science Class Goes Outdoors

By: Casey Robinson on Oct 16, 2015 | Categories: General, Academic

Capt. Isaac Lopez's fifth period physical science class is learning about the modern atomic theory. Recently the class discussed Niel Bohr's model of the atom (Planetary Model) and how electrons can gain or lose energy when they move up or down orbital levels. They also learned about Schrodinger's equation and how it contributed to the model of the electron cloud.

In this lab they went outside to the Excalibur statue. We drew orbitals with chalk around the statue to demonstrate Bohr's model. The cadets stood on the orbitals. They played the role of electrons, while the statue played the role of the nucleus. They were arranged in the proper orbital configurations based on the orbital energy levels.

On Capt. Lopez's count the cadets were instructed to run along their orbital until they were told stop. At this point they took their piece of chalk and marked a baseball sized dot where they stood. This repeated this over and over again. They were also asked to either gain or lose energy having them move up and down between orbitals. After a short time many dots were randomly scattered around the nucleus clustered more in some places and less in others.

At the end of the exercise the cadets could observe how dots were clustered in different concentrations around the nucleus, showing them the statistical probability of the location of an electron in the electron cloud. The areas of higher concentration indicate a higher probability that an electron would be in that portion of the electron cloud at a given moment.

The boys loved it, and the overall feedback was that they had a clearer understanding of the Bohr model and a clearer conceptual grasp of the probability model of the electron cloud.