Tried and True: The living periodic tableby: Mary Schrodt Nahlik

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To help make the abstract world of chemistry more concrete to your middle-school students, have them create a living periodic table that can be displayed in the classroom or hallway. This display includes information about the elements arranged in the traditional periodic table format, but also includes visual real-world representations of the elements chosen by students. For example, an inflated balloon represents helium, a penny symbolizes copper, and a tube of toothpaste denotes fluoride.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:37 PM

In an effort to make the Periodic Table of Elements more concrete students are asked to create a display that includes more than just the information about an element and the Bohr model of that element. The display must include visual real-world representation of the element. In some cases an object that has that element in it is used.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed May 18, 2011 2:54 PM

This article outlines a new approach to teaching the periodic table to middle school aged students. Using the traditional periodic table as a launching point, students engage in research to learn about their assigned elements and including an example of the element (i.e. a penny for copper). I really like how this engages the students in learning and helps them understand the importance of the "abstract elements" on the periodic table in our everyday lives. The article also includes examples of student work and an example of the student activity sheet. While this article specifically targets middle school aged students, this activity could be easily modified for use at higher or lower grade levels.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:54 PM

While the author requires students to express the information they find on assigned elements in their own words, I do not think that this activity focused on assembling required bits of data can deepen understanding or appreciation for the logic behind the organization of the periodic table.


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