Log in Sign up

Can you really have fun as you learn about chemistry? {FREE Game}

RSS

Add some fun to your homeschool science curriculum with this free chemistry game!

Learn about atoms and isotopes with this free game for chemistry!

Earlier this month, we shared the basics of teaching chemistry at home. Now, we want to share a super fun game you can use to learn about atoms and isotopes!

Atoms and Isotopes Game Directions

We had a blast playing this game as a family, even our 5-year-old understood how to play. It’s a great way to sneak in some super-fun review after you have learned about atoms and isotopes!

Supplies

  • Blue, brown, and red colored beads or mini-M&M’s (each player will need about 15 of each color)
  • Atoms & Isotopes Game Board, Cards, and Player Cards (Download for Free)

How to Play

1. Set up the game.
  • Sort the beads or mini-M&M’s into the three piles on the game board – electrons (blue), protons (red), and neutrons (brown).
  • Place the game cards in the provided square.
  • Choose to do an easy game (hydrogen card) or challenging game (nitrogen card). Hand the appropriate player card to each player.
2. Read the rules of the game. 
  • Electrons go on the circles marked with an “e” on the player card, protons go on the circles marked with a “p”, and neutrons go on the circles marked with a “n” on the player card.
  • Players can fill the space on either atom until both are complete. If they do not have space for the subatomic particle they have chosen, the particle is placed in their holding tank at the bottom of the player card.
  • Players may use the subatomic particles in the holding tank to fill the spaces left when they choose a card that tells them to lose a particle.

3. The youngest player begins the game by choosing a card and then doing what it tells you to do. Once they are done, the player to the right chooses a card and repeats the process.

4. Game play continues until someone wins.

    How to Win

    Be the first player to create an atom of each of the stable isotopes on their player card.

    What are atoms and isotopes?

    The Greeks were the first to discuss the concept of an atom.  They believed that matter could be cut into smaller and smaller pieces, but that eventually you would get to a piece that could not be cut.  So, the word atom comes from the Greek word, atomos, which means “uncuttable”.

    It wasn’t until 1808 that John Dalton, an English scientist and schoolteacher, developed a theory about the how atoms behave.  His theory said that an element is composed of tiny particles called atoms, in an ordinary chemical reaction, no atom of an element disappears and compounds are formed when atoms of two or more elements combine.

    So on the basis of his theory; scientists were now able to say that the atom was the smallest particle of an element.  Modern atomic theory is very similar to what Dalton proposed, except now we know the sub-particles that compose an atom as well as that structure of an atom.  So, let’s take a closer look at the structure of an atom.

    The Structure of an Atom

    The atom is composed of three smaller subatomic particles, called the proton, neutron, and electron.  The proton is a positively charged particle that resides in the nucleus at the center of an atom.  The neutron is a particle with no charge that also resides in the nucleus of an atom.  The electron is a negatively charged particle that resides in a cloud around the nucleus, which is called an electron shell.

    Atoms have an equal number of protons and electrons, which gives them no net charge.  In other words, the positive charges from the protons are canceled out by the negative charges of the electrons within the atom.  Generally, an atom of a given element has the same number of neutrons as protons, but there are exceptions.

    Isotopes

    Some atoms have additional neutrons in their nucleus, and we call these atoms isotopes of the element.  These isotopes have the same atomic number, but different atomic mass.  Remember that the atomic number is the number of protons in an element and atomic mass is the total weight of the protons, neutrons, and electrons in an element.  So it makes sense that an isotope would have the same atomic number, but a different atomic mass from the original element.

    Additional Resources

    As you work through this information with your students, you can have them create a narration sheet using the following templates or one of our programs:

    Here are a few yummy atom models you can make with your students:

    Here are a few books you can check out from the library to learn more about atoms:

    • What Are Atoms? (Rookie Read-About Science) by Lisa Trumbauer
    • Atoms and Molecules (Building Blocks of Matter) by Richard and Louise Spilsbury
    • Atoms (Simply Science) by Melissa Stewart

    Have you played this game? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

    Previous Post Next Post

    • Paige Hudson
    Comments 4
    • Paige Hudson
      Paige Hudson

      Pamela – Thank you for sharing! I’m glad to see that you guys had a deliciously fun learning experience :-)!

    • Pamela Ward
      Pamela Ward

      My 3rd grade daughter and I played this game using M and M’s, as depicted in the picture on this website. This was a fun game for her, and it helped her understand the subatomic particles. It was also tasty after we finished the game!

    • PAIGE HUDSON
      PAIGE HUDSON

      You are welcome Miss Cari!

    • Miss Cari
      Miss Cari

      I have been looking for a creative way to teach this concept to my class. Thank you for creating a fun and hands on way to present it.

    Leave a comment
    Your Name:*
    Email Address:*
    Message: *

    Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

    * Required Fields