Can you imagine teaching quantum numbers and saying, "There are 6 simple steps. If you follow them every time, you will get it right."?
You might be thinking that it isn't that easy for you, so there is no way it can be that easy for students.
It can be if you are shown a specific method of teaching quantum numbers. It is simple. It is straightforward.
It is so easy to follow a gym teacher could show your students this lesson. (No offense gym teachers!)
Let me show you the easiest method for teaching quantum numbers. And after you see how easy it is, you are going to want these charts.
Write Abbreviated Electron Configuration
Step one is to find the element you are writing the abbreviated electron configuration for on the periodic table. (You can find electron configuration teaching tips here.)
Mark the element with a circle, or color it red. Next, tell your students to walk backwards on the periodic table until they get to a noble gas.
Tell students to write the noble gas symbol down and put brackets around it. Now, students will write the electron configuration from that point.
This is the abbreviated electron configuration.
Draw Orbital Diagram
To complete setting up the problem, you will need to tell students to draw an orbital diagram. This is step 2.
To draw a complete orbital diagram the students would write the complete electron configuration and then put one box under every s written, three boxes under every p written, five boxes under every d, and 7 boxes under every f.
Fortunately for our students, they just need to do this for the abbreviated electron configuration, so it is much shorter.
Find Principal Quantum Number n
For step 3, have students look at the abbreviated electron configuration and look at the very last “big number”, or coefficient.
Sometimes there are more than one coefficient, so make sure to emphasize to students that it is the last one.
Then, copy that number over for n. Tell students, "It’s that easy!".
Find Orbital Angular Momentum Quantum Number ( l )
Tell students to go look at the abbreviated electron configuration and look at the very last “letter”, or subshell.
There are usually several subshells, so emphasize to students it is the last one.
Then, copy that number over for l. That is step 4.
Find The Magnetic Quantum Number ( ml )
For step 5, tell your students to look at the orbital diagram they drew and look at the placement of the last electron. Make sure they have drawn their orbital diagram correctly.
Then, have them match the placement of that last electron to a number in the chart. Then students should write that number down for ml. This is the third quantum number.
Find The Electron Spin Quantum Number ( ms )
Have students look at their orbital diagram again. Ask students, "Did the last electron go in spin up, or spin down?" Tell students that spin up is +1/2, and spin down is -1/2.
That was step 6 and the last step in the problem.
Imagine not struggling with this topic yourself, or with your students. It will be a complete game changer for you.
If you need to see a video explanation, you can view it here and save it to your TpT wishlist to come back to. Or, if you would like to show it to your students, you can use the Instagram link here.
Don’t have time to create a worksheet using this method? I’ve got one ready for you here!
Hi! I'm CoScine. I write chemistry worksheets for visual learners. They are fun, easy to follow, and most of them are quick to grade. Since I started my teaching career at the college level, these aren't just simple chemistry. These worksheets are hard core science made fun.