How to Build a Model of the Element Silicon

A silicone atom has three electron rings surrounding the nucleus.
••• Hemera Technologies/ Images

Silicone is one of the most abundant elements on the planet comprising of almost 25 percent of the Earth's crust. Silicone is found in clay, granite, quartz, and sand. The element is used in glass and in the production of microchips for electronic devices. Creating a model of silicone demonstrates the element's atomic structure including the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons it possesses and how those particles are arranged within the atom.

    Place a toothpick into each styrofoam ball for easy handling during painting.

    Paint 14 balls each with the colors you have selected. Each color represents protons, neutrons, and electrons of the atom. The silicone atom is the represented by atomic number 14, which is how many protons are present in the nucleus. There are the same number of electrons as protons in the element. The silicon atom also has 14 neutrons inside the atom. Allow to dry.

    Glue the 14 protons and 14 neutrons together using the hot glue gun to create the nucleus of the atom. Arrange the balls randomly so that the model does not have proton and neutron clumps.

    Create the electron shells for the model out of floral wire. The silicone atom has 3 electron shells. The first shell holds only 2 electrons. The second shell holds 8 electrons and the outer shell, called the valence electrons, holds the remaining 4 electrons. Push the wire through the styrofoam balls and wrap the ends of the wire together to complete the ring.

    Wrap floral wire from each ring of the model to the wire ring. This will allow the model to be lifted and hung easily, like a mobile. Each ring should have at least two wires on opposites sides connected to the ring for support.

    Wrap floral wire around the wire ring and press the ends of the wire into the proton and neutron nucleus. For stability, add hot glue at the area where the wire enters into the nucleus to hold the wire in place.

    Things You'll Need

    • Styrofoam balls
    • Toothpicks
    • 3 colors of paint
    • Paintbrushes
    • Hot glue
    • Hot glue gun
    • Floral wire
    • Wire ring


    • Not all atoms have the same number of protons and neutrons within the nucleus for a stable atom. If creating a model of a different atom, this information should be researched.

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