Liquid Metal

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How the atoms are arranged in the materials we use in our everyday lives define many of the characteristics of the materials. We can't see the atoms without very powerful microscopes, but we can experience some of the effects of the atomic structures.

The following activities will help you discover how atoms are arranged in some common and not-so-common materials and how it affects the material's properties. From food to water balloons you'll get to learn about materials while having fun!

Activities

Can you picture atoms and how they're arranged? In this activity you will model the atoms in a single crystal, polycrystalline materials, and amorphous solids. Learn what all of these words mean and more using candy!

Activity PDF:

Why do some candies melt in your mouth and others last for a long time? The texture and other properties of candy are determined in part by how the atoms are arranged. Make some yummy maple candy and learn about why it is firm yet smooth.

Activity PDF:

Why does it hurt more when you fall down on cement than on grass? Learn about the hardness and softness of materials using tennis balls and water balloons.

Activity PDF:

How do scientists control the atomic structures of materials? By changing the process while the atomic structures are forming we can change how the final atoms will be arranged. Try it out by making two different types of refreshing Lemons Ices!

Activity PDF:

How can you tell what a material's atomic structure is if you don't have a super powerful microscope? By growing crystals from common materials such as salt and sugar you can "see" how the atoms are arranged. This is a longer activity that may take up to a couple of weeks. It would be perfect for a science fair project!

Activity PDF: