Element i-movies

34 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to create an infomercial i-movie that explains the characteristics and importance of an element.

Big Idea

Each element has specific physical and chemical properties.


In this lesson students are able to synthesize what they have learned in the unit by making an i-movie with their classmates.

  • This lesson aligns with NGSS Physical Science Performance Expectation HS-PS1-1: "Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms".
  • This lesson also has students involved in the Science and Engineering Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.  Students are doing this by learning and gathering information about their element, and then communicating what they learned through making an i-movie.

In this lesson students make i-movies so it is important to have computers or i-pads for students to use.  Students could also make movies using movie maker or another movie device.

If you do not have access to technology in your classroom you can change this project and have students make element posters instead.  These are three examples (1, 2, and 3) of element posters from students in past years before I had them do computer projects.

I present the making of the element i-movie as one lesson here but in reality this is a project that I do over the course of Unit 2 and take one day at the end of unit 2 for students to complete the project.

  • I assign to students at the beginning of unit 2 (usually after the unit 1 exam) with the engage and explain portions of the lesson
  • I then have them work on the video at the end of each class as there is extra time throughout the unit. 
  • This usually gives students an extra two hours to work on the project compared to this lesson where they really only have 100 minutes or so. 
  • Also, at the end of the lesson for the evaluate component I do that part of the lesson during another class period (usually after they complete their Unit 2 exam) where I will have had time to upload all student videos from the various computers to my external hard drive so that they can all watch each others videos.


5 minutes

To get students excited about making an i-movie I show examples that some students had done in previous years.  This also helps students get ideas of what they can put in their movies.  Here is an example of a previous i-movie that I might use to show students about the project.  This one is good because it has most of the information, why the element is important, is organized and has a bibliography of sources in the project.  I also show them some other ones that have video of students but did not want to include those here for Better Lesson because of student privacy.


5 minutes

After getting students excited about i-movie projects I pass out the project paper and go over the criteria for the movie.  I make sure to highlight the goal, the rubric, and study guide paper.  I have students work on the movie with their table groups and encourage them to pick an element from their group (for example the alkali metal group picks an element from group 1A). If students really want a different element than their group I allow them to choose a transition metal.  I have students sign up for their element on the element sign up sheet so that there aren't any duplicates in my classes.


100 minutes

To begin the project I go over the basics of i-movie on my emac at the front of the classroom.  This includes:

  • How to import photos
  • How to make photos into a project
  • How to change the time for each photo
  • How to use the ken burns effect
  • How to change the order of photos
  • How to add titles to photos (either on the photo or on black before the photo)
  • How to add effects between photos

If you are not familiar with how to use the i-movie program, or if you end up using a different type of movie maker, there are lots of tutorials online which you can show to the class such as this one by Tara Miller.   She also has a few others that go into more detail with video and picture editing.  There are also documents from apple that go over the basics.  This is one for i-movie HD from which I will provide pages 9-33 for students at their tables to refer to when working on their movies.

I also tell students that they will be able to add video and music as they plan their projects:

  • I tell them that if they want to add video to their projects that I have three video cameras that they can use and will help them with that part
  • I also tell them that they can add music to their projects AT THE END so if they have songs in mind they can bring them in on CD but that they will do this on the last day of the project.

I then assign each group a computer (I have 8 computers in my classroom, one for each table group) where I have a sticky message that tells them where they will be saving their movies and pictures and a pre-made folder on the desktop for each class period. 

I then tell them to open up the i-movie folder for their period to see where they should be saving their movie, pictures, and music. 

I then have students fill in the Study Guide using their notes, books, and internet.  I provide website resources on their project paper.  I also encourage them to begin to find pictures as they do their research and place them in their folder. 

As students work I walk around and help with i-movie, gathering data, and making sure that all students work together.

I have 100 minutes as the time here, but I actually have students work on the projects throughout the unit as there is extra time in class.  Then, as the second to last day of the unit I give them time to finish their movies and officially "turn in".


10 minutes

I grade the project using the i-movie rubric.  Students usually miss points when it comes to talking about the physical and chemical properties of their elements or really saying why there element is important.

This is an example of a video about Chlorine and this is the rubric which shows that this group earned 60 out of 70 points.

This is another example of a video about Mercury.

With my old emacs in my classroom it takes time to download the movies so I download them to grade and then on the day of the exam I have each group watch each others i-movies and have them vote for the best in the class using a voting paper.  I then reward the winning group with a treat.