Activity Overview

Being able to model atoms is an important skill for students to acquire at the beginning of a unit. The elements that make up a chemical, the bonds between the atoms, and the way the atoms are arranged can give us an insight into the properties of the substance. Using ball and stick models can also allow students to ‘see’ the chemicals and give them a better understanding of its composition.

In this activity, students will create a chart that models different types of substances. Students will need to understand the terms atoms and bonds in order to complete this activity. They should create three models each for elements, compounds, and mixtures.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create models of different substances using the ball-and-stick-model symbol from Science > Symbols.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Create stick and ball models for nine different substances: 3 elements, 3 compounds, and 3 mixtures.
  3. Write the name of each element, compound and mixture under the cell where you have drawn the model.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [SCI-MS-PS1-5] Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
  • [SCI-HS-PS1-1] Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
  • [SCI-HS-PS1-2] Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures
Write a description, draw a particle diagram, and give two examples of elements, compounds and mixtures.
25 Points
13 Points
0 Points
Substance Type Examples
There are two correct examples each of elements, compounds, and mixtures.
There is at least one correct example each of an element, a compound, and a mixture.
Two or fewer of the six examples of elements, compounds, and mixtures are correct.
Particle Diagram
There is a particle diagram that correctly represents an element, a compound and a mixture.
There are at least two images that correctly represent the substance types.
Only one particle diagram correctly represents the substance types.
Every substance type (element, compound or a mixture) has a clear description that contains good scientific vocabulary.
At least two of the three substance types (element, compound or a mixture) have a clear description.
At least one of the three substance types (element, compound or a mixture) has a clear description.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

More Storyboard That Activities

Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures

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