Right before Winter Break, we began to touch upon our study of the elements and the Periodic Table. Now, in 5th grade we deal mostly with chemical equations and how reactions produce products made from the same materials that they started with. So my students are spending a great deal of time looking at chemical reactions, writing equations, and moving molecules around.
But mixed in there, the students ALSO need to learn about the elements themselves. So, I wanted to take a little time and show you some of the stuff we have been doing in our room.
The Panicked Teacher....you must visit her site! She has some great things there) got me this AWESOME book for the holidays. The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
It really is fantastic. It shows all of the elements and the various materials that they make up. The photos are breathtaking and it is PERFECT for a study on the elements. What's more, my students love it! Thanks Susie!
You can get it here
So to start our little journey into chemical reactions, I had the students watch the BrainPop videos on Atoms and Atomic Models. They watched both videos twice. The first time, just to "get it". The second time they took notes in a little foldable we designed. Then, we watched the StudyJams video about Atoms as well (that one is free for everyone).
On the other side of the foldable, I had the students write the definitions for a few of the terms that they really need to know (proton, neutron, electron, atom, element, molecule) They worked in groups on this one, coming up with the best definition possible. And, boy, did they like that! Who knew group work could be so much fun??!! ;)
Sciencespot.net. It is called "The Atoms Family" and it is a PowerPoint that you can download for free. Basically, it takes the kids through a made up story of the town of Matterville. There are Protons and Neutrons and Electrons all living there...and it sets up a really cute, memorable story that helped to cement the idea of the atom and energy shells. Their most favorite part of this whole thing was the "Atoms Family Song". It is super cute, teaches about atoms, and the kids couldn't get enough of it!
And here is the best part of it all. Over winter break, as a pre-introduction to all of this, I asked my students to create a basic research poster/diorama project for one element, with the eventual goal of creating a class Periodic Table. I assigned each of them an element, gave them a list of requirements, and sent them on their merry way. What came back was fantastic!
The second required section was a diorama box into which a minimum of 5 objects made from that element were to be put. The student were so creative with this, especially those that had elements that were difficult to really pin down. Again, here are a few I really liked.
The students were also given a chance for some extra credit. They were to simply build a model of the atom. Again...such creativity!
So there it is...the beginning of our unit. What are some of the things that you do when introducing the elements and periodic table?