ACS: Inquiry in Action - Atoms (Lesson 6.2): Atoms can be Rearranged to Make Different Molecules

After an introduction of Snap Cubes as models atoms and molecules, students use Snap Cubes to investigate the question: How can Snap Cubes be used to make models of different molecules?


Students will be able to explain that Snap Cubes or other objects can be used as models of atoms. Students will also be able to explain that atoms can be rearranged to make different molecules.

Key Concepts

  • Matter is made up of very small parts called atoms.
  • Atoms can combine in different numbers and in different ways to make different molecules.
  • Atoms and molecules make up all of the different substances, including solids, liquids, and gases that are all around us.
  • Models can be used to represent atoms and these models can be rearranged to represent different molecules.


  • Students see an animation showing that the things around them are made of atoms and molecules.
  • Students use Snap Cubes to make models of atoms and molecules. They are given white, red, blue, and black cubes that represent hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon atoms respectively.
  • Students are guided to take atoms apart, rearrange them, and put them together again in different ways to make six different molecules.
  • Students also see a fun molecule-making game that they can try.


There is no student activity sheet for this lesson. After clicking on each molecule in the animation, you may want to circulate around the room to see how well students understand how to create models of the molecules using Snap Cubes.

Science Topics
Chemistry, Matter
K-6, Educator
2nd Grade
Descriptions of PDFs

Lesson Plan (PDF) | Teacher Background (PDF) | Connections to NGSS (PDF) | Molecule Card (PDF)

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