What our Periodic Table of Elements lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Periodic Table of Elements teaches students all about the way scientists have organized every known element in the universe. Students will discover some of the history behind the table and be able to name some common atoms. They will also learn to explain various parts of each element on the table. This lesson is for students in 5th grade and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. For this lesson, you will need to provide a Periodic Table and ensure students have internet access.
Options for Lesson
The classroom procedure page provides a list of ideas for additional activities or alternate ways to go about certain aspects of the lesson. One suggestion that relates to the activity is to assign students more than one element to research. Students could also use large drawing paper to display how people might use their element(s) and include some of the information they found during research. Another option is to invite a chemist to speak to the class about how they use the Periodic Table of Elements in their work. You could ask students to develop a method to memorize the elements. One last idea is to create a quiz or test using students’ research and activity presentations.
The teacher notes page has an extra paragraph of information or guidance on what to expect from the lesson. It suggests possibly having your students memorize some or all of the elements depending on their grade level. It also mentions taking advantage of the many resources online to supplement the lesson. You can use the blank lines on this page to write down your ideas and thoughts as you prepare.
PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
Introduction to the Table
The Periodic Table of Elements lesson plan contains four pages of content, one of which is a periodic table for reference. At this point, students probably know that everything in the universe contains different atoms or elements. An element is a pure substance that comes from a single type of atom. Atoms (or elements) are the building blocks for all matter in the universe.
Examples of elements include hydrogen, oxygen, iron, helium, gold and many others. Individually, or together with other elements, they form all solids, liquids, and gases. Depending on the temperature, elements can be found in the solid, liquid, or gas state.
There are 118 known elements existing in the universe. Scientists have organized them based on their characteristics, and more specifically, by the structure of their atoms. The organization of the elements is the basis of the Periodic Table of Elements. (Note: The word element and atom may be interchanged because an element is an atom and an atom is an element.) Of the 118 elements, only 94 exist naturally on Earth.
The structure of each atom includes the number of protons it has and the number of electrons it has in its outer shell. Every element has an atomic number, which is the same number of the element’s protons. For example, hydrogen (H) is the first element listed on the periodic table because it has just one proton. Then on the same row, we find helium (He), which contains two protons.
The organization of the elements on such a table began in 1869 and was first proposed by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev. He first arranged 65 of the known elements in a grid or table. An element with a higher atomic weight would always be listed to the right of one with a lower atomic weight. Helium (He) has a greater atomic weight than hydrogen (H).
In addition, he listed elements with similar chemical properties or reactions in the same column. For example, the first column includes seven elements. Two of those elements, sodium (Na) and potassium (K), are both classified as alkali metals. Though hydrogen (H) is classed as a nonmetal, it can become metallic at high pressures. The vertical columns are called groups. There are 18 of them in total.
Mendeleev believed the table he organized and developed was at the heart of chemistry. He knew the table was incomplete because there were spaces where elements should be, but they were not yet discovered. In fact, he named elements that were yet to be discovered and predicted their existence and properties.
In the coming years, scientists reorganized Mendeleev’s table following the discovery of the electron. Then in 1913, another chemist named Henry Moseley discovered that elements are different from one another because their atoms have different numbers of protons. Mendeleev had arranged the elements based on their atomic weights. Today, the chemical elements are still arranged in order of their increasing atomic number, and horizontal rows are called periods. There are seven periods.
Using the Periodic Table of Elements
The Periodic Table of Elements contains several parts that we can easily identify. Each element has a name and a chemical symbol, or abbreviation. Most of the abbreviations begin with the same letter as the element’s name, but others use a different letter. For example, element number 79 (gold) uses Au as its chemical symbol because its origin is from the Latin word aurum meaning gold. Element number 19 is potassium and uses K as its chemical symbol. Its origin is also from an old Latin word, kalium.
Students will discover that some periodic tables contain more information than others. For example, some tables may only include the atomic number and symbol. Others will include the name, atomic weight or mass, electron information, and other facts about the element.
As an example, the lesson provides information for both calcium and oxygen. Calcium’s atomic number is 20, its chemical symbol is Ca, and 40.08 is its atomic weight. Oxygen’s atomic number is 8, its chemical symbol is O, and 16.00 is its atomic weight. The numbers 20 and 8 respectively indicate the number of protons in their atoms.
Each element on the periodic table has its own characteristics and structure. They can be found throughout the universe. For example, carbon (C) is unique and forms nearly 10 million different compounds. Not to mention, it is vital to the existence of life. The rarest element on Earth is astatine (At), sometimes used for cancer treatments. The amount of astatine available is equal to the weight of about five nickels.
PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Periodic Table of Elements lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will reinforce the concepts of the lesson and help students demonstrate their grasp of the material. Use the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet to your students.
ELEMENT RESEARCH ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Students will conduct online research on an element you assign them. They must draw a picture that represents how people use that element and summarize its history. The worksheet then lists a number of questions or prompts that students must respond to as they conduct their research. For instance, they will need to find out if their element has harmful effects or determine how rare it is on Earth and in the solar system in general.
IDENTIFICATION PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet splits into two sections. For the first section, students will review 30 chemical symbols and identify which element they correspond to. There is no list of elements; students will have to use their memory or refer to the Periodic Table. (You can choose whether or not to allow students to refer to the table to complete the assignment.) The second section requires students to identify the atomic number of 12 elements.
PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
Similar to the practice worksheet, the homework assignment has three sections. The first section requires students to answer 10 prompts based on content from the lesson. For the second section, they must determine whether five statements are true (T) or false (F). Finally, they will order 10 elements from lightest (1) to heaviest (10) based on atomic weight.
Worksheet Answer Keys
The last two pages of the document are answer keys for the practice and homework worksheets. The correct answers are in red to make it easy to compare them to students’ responses. Apart from a couple questions on the homework assignment, students’ answers should exactly match those on the answer keys. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.