The Story of the Atom: Full-Year Course

The Story of the Atom: Full-Year Course


Schedule: This is a Self-Paced Course
Grade Span: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

  • About This Course

    Physicists, in their quest to understand the universe, try to find the simplest of explanations to explain the things we observe. In fact, there still is a faith that one day we will arrive at a ‘grand unified theory’, one idea, one equation, which explains it all! 


    We are not there yet. And interestingly modern physics is kind of at a standstill. Enter the QuantumCamp student! Most kids don’t tackle advanced physics until their junior year in college. We believe if students start acclimating themselves to the quirky, surprising, lumpy world of atomic physics in middle school, breakthroughs in modern physics will occur. (Of course, the objective here is mainly to enjoy the labs and challenge yourself to build sensible explanations.)


    Scientists believed they were getting close to a grand unified theory by the middle of the 1800’s. However, there was a growing realization that Newton's intuitive and logical physical laws were breaking down as new findings emerged, specifically around the colors of light stars, chemical flames, and hot objects emit. Newton’s idea proved inadequate. A different science was needed! 


    In these 6 units, students embark on an experiment-based historical journey that begins with the practical quest to build an engine and eventually leads to the discovery of the structure of nothing less than every atom in our universe!

  • Prerequisites

    • Solving for one unknown in an algebraic equation. Ideally, students should have taken or be currently enrolled in pre-algebra or algebra. 

    • Proficiency with graphing. Students can determine a scale for coordinate axes and properly draw and label axes

    • Familiarity with the scientific method and the ability to design simple experiments

    • Ability to collect and record data

    • Ability to maintain an orderly and safe space for small lab experiments. 

  • How a Self-Paced Course Works

    Students advance through a series of really interesting labs. Each lab goes like this:


    • Kid takes materials out of a box 

    • Kid watches a 3-minute video

    • Kid runs a 10-30-minute lab. (Kid is pumped up!)

    • Kid does a lab write-up and a little problem set for quick feedback 

    • Kid notches a win, has brand new knowledge, and moves to the next lab! 


    In addition, there are bonus videos and readings and even a problem set designed to deepen an intuitive understanding of the topics.