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How can I explain the size of an atom to a child?

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Brainstorm Info
Created:about 15 years ago
Activity:about 2 years ago
Brainstorming Tips: Focus on generating a high quantity of ideas. Don't judge ideas. Invite other people to add ideas.
New Idea: 500 Characters Left
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mix up a batch of rice-krispie squares and explain that every substance is composed of atoms just like the rice bits. These bits are so small however that even a grain of sugar has billions of them (kids just love words like billions)
point out really small things to help them imagine the size. when i was a child it was seeing dust floating in the sunlight and then refocussing my eyes to see giant clouds through the window behind that made me realise how small and big things can be...
draw pictures, children are visual learners, start with big and go smaller, so they can jump from picture to picture and make the connections..
relate it to their spacial awareness. get them to imagine that if the room you are in was the atom then the molecule would be as big as the field, and the grain of salt as big as the city etc. but i think it's important to actually give roughly correct proportions, unless you just want to emphasise how small they are...
Take them to a place where they can see a microscope first and understand magnification first.
Take them to a science museum that explains it.