More Atoms

Now, introducing, CARBON!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carbon is a special atom because it can form so many compounds. It has 4 electrons in its outer shell, so it can take 4 more. One of the atoms carbon bonds with is hydrogen. A hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. This is a hydrocarbon:

 

 

 

 

 

Enough of carbon, let’s see chlorine!!!!!!!!   

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1. About Molecules

Molecules are a group of 2 or more atoms bonding. Today we are going to make a compound, a group of 2 or more molecules bonding. The compound we are making is rust. It is made of 2 elements: iron and oxygen. (Later on we will show you how the elements come together.)

steel wool before adding water

To make it, you need:

  • 1 piece of steel wool
  • 1 jar with lid
  • 3 teaspoons of water

Directions: Put the steel wool in the jar. Then drop the three teaspoons of water on the steel wool. Put the lid on and twice every day, check it.

dropping water on steel wool

2. Watch Rust Develop

Over the next few days, the oxygen atoms began sharing their electrons with the iron atoms (we’ll talk more about that in a minute).

Watch what happened:

Day Two (Yes, it is blurry, but you can still see the rust, right?

Day Four

Day Seven

And some water leaked out onto the bottom of the jar carrying with it particles from the steel wool. That rusted, too. Look:

The bottom of the jar. Ew.

If I keep the experiment going, eventually the whole thing will turn to rust. This is why we don’t park our cars in ponds. RUST!

3. Bonding atoms

This is a basic water molecule. It is made up of three atoms: 2 atoms of Hydrogen (H) and 1 atom of Oxygen (O).

Atoms are collections of tiny particles which we call protons, neutrons, and electrons. They are not all mixed together, but follow a pattern. Think of the protons and neutrons as being in the center of an atom, and the electrons whizzing around the center in orbits. Kind of like planets orbiting around the sun. Kind of. The center of an atom is called the nucleus. The electrons orbit around the nucleus like how the planets orbit the sun. Scientists call these orbits “shells”.

For example, this is the Hydrogen atom:

The electron shells can only have a certain amount of electrons in them. If shells have empty spaces, they fill them in by sharing electrons from other atoms until the shell is full.

The inner shell, if full, has two electrons. The second shell, if full, has eight electrons. Here is how it looks:

tron shelSome atoms have outer elels that are not full. When an atom’s outer electron shell is completely full, it is stable and will not bond with other atoms. Atoms like to be stable, and will share electrons so they can fill their outer shell.

For example, look below at this atom, Oxygen (O). It has 2 electrons in its inner shell. So it is full. The second shell has room for 8 electrons, but Oxygen has only 6 electrons there. So it has room for 2 more electrons before it is full and stable.

So we can see Oxygen has 2 empty spots that could take electrons:

We already saw that a Hydrogen atom has 1 electron. Imagine an Oxygen atom, which has room for 2 extra electrons in its outer shell, met two Hydrogen atoms that could share their electrons.

You might end up with this:

How do we know this works?

  1. The Oxygen atom had 2 empty spaces in its outer shell. The 2 Hydrogen atoms fill those spaces with their two electrons.
  2. Each Hydrogen atom has space for 1 electron in its first (and only) shell. Each can share one of the electrons from the Oxygen atom.
  3. All 3 atoms are now stable. So they will stick together.

4. How Atoms Make Rust

Now that we know how to make rust, let’s learn how the atoms come together to make it.

As we said before, rust is made up of two elements: Iron and Oxygen. The symbol for Iron is Fe (which my Dad says is from the Latin word for Iron, “Ferrum.”

We already know that atoms can share electrons. Here is an Iron (Fe) atom:

Notice that the outer shell has 2 electrons.

Do you remember how many electrons Oxygen (O) had in its outer shell?

Oxygen has 2 empty spaces.

Hey, doesn’t Iron (Fe) only have 2 electrons in its outer shell? These 2 atoms could work well together!

As it turns out, rust, also known as Iron Oxide, is a group of 2 Iron atoms bonded with 3 Oxygen atoms. The molecule is also a compound, because it’s made up of atoms from 2 different elements.

5. How I Did This Project

I got the idea for this project from a library book called Our Atomic World.

My dad helped me to understand molecules, atoms, and electrons. This is us working on my blog pages.

Scientists in action!

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