How to Make a Clay Atom


Atomic and molecular science is a very abstract concept that is often taught through the use of textbooks and lectures. If you are going to teach a class about atoms and molecules, you can make the concept more understandable by making a model of an atom out of basic craft materials. Use colorful clay to construct a basic atom that you can set onto a table top for your students to look at while you lecture.

Things You'll Need

  • Craft wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Polymer clay, blue, red and gray
  • Cookie sheet
  • Cut a 37-inch piece of craft wire using wire cutters, and bend it into a circle. Twist the ends together to secure the circle in place.

  • Cut a 7-inch piece of craft wire with the wire cutters, and stretch it across the center of the circle. Twist the ends onto the circular wire to secure it in place.

  • Cut an 9-inch piece of craft wire, and bend it into a half circle. Attach the ends of the half circle onto the center wire of the atom form. Repeat, twisting the ends of the second half circle opposite from the first half circle. This will create a smaller circle in the center of the larger circle.

  • Form 1/4 lb. of blue polymer clay into four round balls that are attached to the larger circular wire. Space out the circles evenly around the wire. These will be the atom's electrons.

  • Form 1/8 lb. of red polymer clay into six small balls, and form 1/8 lb. of gray polymer clay into six small balls. Attach each ball onto the wire into a cluster in the very center of the atom form. These will be the atom's protons and neutrons.

  • Bake the clay atom on a cookie sheet in a 150 degree-Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes. Allow the atom to cool for 20 minutes before displaying it.

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