This tutorial provides a detailed history of the development of the current theories of atomic structure from the late nineteenth century on. The site includes sidebar navigation to related sites such as biographies and related animations.There is also a related module on "Matter" which presents the properties of matter and additonal resources "The Particle Adventure", "A Look Inside the Atom: JJ Thomson's Experiments".
1.The structure of the atom in terms of the subatomic particles 2.The history of the early experiments 3.Links to related advanced information on elementary particles, quarks, neutrinos, the fundamentals of matter and force.
Target Student Population:
It is suitable for various levels: 1. For the main module: middle school and high school students, and college students who have had no chemistry or physics in secondary school
2. For the additonal resources such as the "Particle Adventure": college freshman and sophomore chemistry and physics students
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Back ground needed includes: 1.For the main module: Basic reading and comprehension skills at the middle school level 2. For the "Particle Adventure": high school or college level introductory chemistry, physics courses
Type of Material:
The main module is a textual tutorial with a few animations and simulations.
The additional resources are tutorials, with extensive graphics, animations and simulations. The material presented is primarly text format, although there are side bar links which contain fascinating archival material (biographies, historical audio recordings of speeches by pioneers in the field etc.)
Main module is suitable to be assigned for homework, and review to be done by the student. The additional resources may be used for classroom presentation by the instructor or for use in individual study or recitation groups.
Requires a standard computer platform with "Flash" required for viewing the simulations.
Evaluation and Observation
Very clear simple language has been used to describe the information and the various experiments and results. The historical description of the experiments and the biograpies of the scientists, and the actual text of some of their presentations, and an audio recording of JJ Thomson speaking about the elctron, all serve to enhance the actual information on the atomic structure.
The additional resources have excellent advanced information on elementary particles, matter-force- energy relationship and interconversions. This is an example of best practice in science history as a supplement to instruction.
The content quality is adequate but very light in terms of the mathematics, e.g. electrostatic force/centripetal force development of the Bohr model etc. This is also not present in the subsequent section, atom theory II. The models required simple mathematics to determine sizes etc. and that material should be included if only as a sidebar navigation entry.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This tutorial can be used by the students to review and study the material after the information has been presented in the classroom or as reading material to be completed before classroom instruction. The explanations are simple, clear and interesting for a first year student. They are qualitative and conceptual and well laid out. The classics sidebar material on in-depth exploration of the entire subject of matter, atomic structure, fundamental particles, theories of anti-matter, dark matter, etc. is excellent.
The main module has a very unsophisticated, linear presentation of material which does not use any of the strengths of computer based technology other the fact that it is accessible via the Internet. As such,
it offers no advantage over what is already present in most texts, except for the sidebar navigation and classics section. However, many of the non-classics sidebar navigations could be improved as well.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
1. Very simple and easy to use and navigate so the user does not get trapped. 2. The related resources are very well designed with a clearly accessible navigation tool bar that stays on the left margin of the screen 3. The simulations are clear and correctly present the concepts that are being discussed.
The simulation showing the structure of the atom shows the electrons orbiting the nucleus- this is incorrect and therefore this could cause confusion and incorrect conclusions on the part of the user about the motion of an electron within the atom
Other Issues and Comments:
The main module is a very good introduction to the structure of the atom and with the additional resources it is an excellent multi media learning object on the the details of the structure of matter, fundamental particles and energy-force relationships