Rutherford's Gold-Foil Experiment

Lesson Plan

Students are given information about Rutherford’s gold-foil experiment, asked to make predictions about the outcome, and given the results of the test. Students then explore a simulation where they can explore relationships and use those relationships to explain Rutherford’s observations. The whole class then discusses the results of Rutherford’s experiment and the simulation. Finally, students revised models of atomic structure using the evidence from Rutherford’s experiment. In the associated video, high school teacher Kristin Mayer helps students use additional evidence from observing a simulation of Thomson’s Cathode-Ray Tube experiment to inform their models. Students continue their work in the second associated video to make and discuss models of atomic structure.

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