Learning to use the Periodic Table of Elements.

Learning to use the Periodic Table of Elements is important. But it can be more fun than simple memorization of where things are an their classes.

Learning to use the Periodic Table of Elements is important. But it can be more fun than simple memorization of where things are an their classes.

Nicholas has a serious science bent. He loves science books (Sir Cumference and the First Round Table (A Math Adventure)). He’d rather read a book about science than a fiction story everyday. And mostly I indulge him in his reading habits because I think that reading is important – so long as you are reading I’m not likely to make a fuss. Because of this, we tend to do a lot of science lesson.

From my classes in science, I know how important the Periodic Table of Elements is. The Periodic Table can tell you the configuration of atoms, how reactive they are, and a who bunch of other things (like whether they are a metal or non-metal). Nicholas likes to learn about science, so we spent some time with our Periodic Table out.

To make the lesson fun, I wrote down the clues on cards. I had the following “clues” written for him:

1. Find three noble gases.
2. Find the heaviest element.
3. What element is Na?
4. What is the atomic number of…. carbon, oxygen, lead, chlorine, californiaum, uranium, gold. (each one had it’s own card).
5. Find two metals.
6. Find three non-metals.
7. What are the atomic numbers for the elements that form life? (N, C, O, He. H)
8. What element is first on the table?
9. Find me an element whose symbol isn’t part of it’s name.
10. Find me a really reactive gas.
11. Find me two man-made elements.

Nicholas then got the cards, had to read the cards, and then answer the cards. He wrote the answers down on the cards. He really enjoyed this activity.

Then we had to do it again. He made me pull the “find me a metal” and “find me a non-metal” cards out of the pile. I let Abby pick each one up and read it to Nicholas (since she had memorized the cards), and we went around an around on metals and non-metals for a while. Then he wanted to memorize the noble gases – so he made a song to remember them.

It was a great lesson because (1) he rally enjoyed it, and (2) it involved all of use, and (3) it took on a life of its own. That’s how you know it is really a good lesson.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: