Secret in the Margins: Rutherford's Gold Foil Experiment

Journal Article by: Sevgi Aydin and Deborah L. Hanuscin Digital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

In this article, the authors describe a lesson that uses the 5E Learning Cycle to help students not only understand the atomic model but also how Ernest Rutherford helped develop it. The lesson uses Rutherford's gold foil experiment to focus on three aspects of the nature of science: the empirical nature of science, the tentativeness of scientific knowledge, and the distinction between observation and inference.

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A selection from The Science Teacher—October 2011

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Reviews (1)
  • on Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:56 PM

This article outlines how to use Rutherford's famous gold foil experiment as a vehicle for teaching using the "E's". I was hoping for a more in depth view of Rutherford himself and his experiment that I could use with students to do some close reading about an important milestone in science. The activities presented were good, just not what I was searching for.

David Chizzonite
David Chizzonite

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