Orbitals and Energy Levels Made Simple

A member of the Science Learning Forum had a great idea for explaining orbitals and energy levels. Here's the video.


I kept this video simple, because I intended it to be a precursor to the upcoming tutorial on photosynthesis. Orbitals play an important role in photosynthesis.

When sunlight strikes a chloroplast, electrons in the chlorophyll become excited. Essentially this means they rise to the next energy level, or the next higher orbital. Think of a soccer ball at rest. When you kick the ball, you apply energy. The energy makes the ball go up in the air.

However, what goes up must come down.

Eventually the soccer ball returns to the ground. Also, the electron "settles" back down in its original orbital. When the soccer ball hits the ground it releases energy. So does the electron.

The electron's energy is utilized in the processes of photosynthesis. These processes can include splitting water molecules, creating NADPH, generating ATP, etc. The energy comes when an excited electron returns to its original orbital.

An excited electron can also leave the original atom. In photosynthesis, it joins an electron transfer chain. Electrons jump from protein to protein. Along the way, they power many chemical reactions.

All of the above is beyond the scope of this video. So all we do is define orbitals. However, the basic analogy in this video is importants. The video explains why the energy of ionization happens as it does. In this way, it's a useful step in learning or teaching the Periodic Table.

The Periodic Table may be the topic of another video in the near future.

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2 Replies to “Orbitals and Energy Levels Made Simple”

  1. Pingback: Science Tutor Video on Chemical Bonds - Science Tutor Online

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