Children in grade 5-8th have participated in a class that has been exploring the periodic table. We started with thinking about how elements “look”. We built three different types of models to try and visualize these tiny building blocks. Our discussion included learning about atomic numbers, electrons, neutrons and protons.
Our first model was with paper, our second used beads and pipecleaners and the third model used a globe with clay and saran wrap. We discussed the pros and cons of each model and where and why each could come in handy as you look at elements.
Next we moved on to how the periodic table is organized. We used “eggs” as our elements and looked at their characteristics to figure out how to organize them into rows and columns. We then tried a similar activity where we used paint chips and organized each row and column by color and intensity.
We also had the opportunity to learn from a student’s father. He came in twice to talk to us about how elements bond together to form compounds. We learned about the outer shell of nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon and how many “free” spots they have to bond with other elements. We were able draw models as well as to build models with a set he brought for us to use.
As we wrap up this unit, we’ll continue to explore the periodic table, compounds and properties of individual elements.