This is a good warm up for physicalization and concentration. The students begin by walking around the room with limited direction. The only rules for walking is that they must walk with intent and should cover the whole space of the room. As the students are walking the teacher will call out the atomic number (i.e. atoms of 4). Once the number is called the students form the atoms by making a connecting circle with other students. In the case of atoms of 4 the atom should consist of 4 students holding hands in a circle. If there is a time where the class does not divide equally this is when the atom will absorb a nucleus (or if you want to stick with the laws of chemistry a proton rich atom absorbs another electron). The terminology doesn’t really matter. The general idea is that we don’t want anyone floating around without an atom group.


A great way to get the body up and moving and create energy within the group. The benefits of atom is that it requires some concentration and team work. Atoms is a quick and easy way to form groups in the class room.


  • Once your atoms are formed have the group create an object using only their bodies to represent it. For example, the atoms of 4 gather and find a way to represent a piano using their bodies. To add an element of concentration and memory the variation asks students to remember who they are with for each atomic number. The next level increase the atomic number and the intricacy of the object the students will represent. You can then build larger and larger groups until eventually the whole class creates something as the atom (maybe a rollercoaster). Now that the groups are formed the teacher calls out the atom number and the students must find their group and recreate their object representation.


There are a couple reasons to add the variation in from time to time. One it increase the concentration each time you add another group and two if you only ever use it form groups younger students may start to huddle together in people they want to group with instead of exploring the room.

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