Average Atomic Mass: Why Are There Decimals on the Periodic Table?

How do you count half of a neutron? Solve the mystery of those awkward atomic masses that contain decimals with a video from JFR Science. The narrator shows viewers how to calculate the average atomic mass using the relative abundances of an element's isotopes.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Ask pupils to hypothesize about the decimals on the periodic table before showing the video
  • Have the class practice weighted average calculations after the video
Classroom Considerations

  • The resource requires little prior knowledge of the periodic table and is meant for beginning chemistry 
Pros

  • Teachers can pause the video when the narrator poses a question to stimulate a class discussion
  • The content is perfect for individual study
Cons

  • None
Common Core