Lesson Plan: Atomic Orbitals Chemistry

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to recognize atomic orbitals based on their shape and describe their relationship with quantum numbers.


Students will be able to

  • define qualitatively what an atomic orbital is,
  • recognize and identify the shapes of atomic orbitals,
  • recall the number of atomic orbitals that exist for each subshell (e.g., 3 p orbitals, 5 d orbitals) and the number of electrons they can contain,
  • connect atomic orbitals with quantum numbers describing an electron within an orbital,
  • relate the valence atomic orbital(s) to an atom’s position on the periodic table,
  • appreciate that molecular bonds form from the interaction (overlap) between atomic bonds.


Students should already be familiar with

  • quantum numbers,
  • electron shells,
  • atomic structure.


Students will not cover

  • hybridization,
  • molecular orbitals,
  • bonding.

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