Atom Explained in Simple Terms

Monday, May 24, 2021

Atom in simple terms

Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space.

Examples include stars and planets, a dog, water, and a rubber ducky.

Most of the matter in the universe is made up of atoms.

A substance that is made up of one kind of atom is an element.

You can find all of the elements in the Periodic Table of Elements.

Each atom is made of smaller particles known as subatomic particles.


In the nucleus, or middle of an atom are two subatomic particles the proton and neutron.

subatomic particles of an atom

The positively charged particles in the nucleus of an atom are called protons.

The number of protons in the nucleus is the defining property of an element and is referred to as the atomic number.  Since each element has a unique number of protons, each element has its own unique atomic number.

periodic table

The uncharged particles in the nucleus are called neutrons.

Orbiting the nucleus of an atom is a cloud of negatively charged particles called electrons.

The electrons are much smaller in mass than protons and neutrons.

The mass of an atom is based on the sum of the mass of the protons and neutrons.

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How to find protons, neutrons, and electrons

Difference between an Atom, Molecule, Compound

Naming Binary Ionic Compounds


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