The Periodic Table: What Does It All Mean?

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SWBAT use the periodic table to determine atomic composition and predict trends in chemical reactions between groups.

Big Idea

The elements on the periodic table are the building blocks of Biochemistry. Today we start laying the foundation of our understanding of how these elements cause chemical reactions that enable us to live!

Hook -How Can You Keep It All Straight?

5 minutes

The lesson will begin with the students watching the video clip to introduce them to all of the elements on the periodic table.  Students will identify and record three elements that they use or interact with on a daily basis.  The students will have the opportunity to share their listed elements during a whole-class discussion of the most common elements.  This is an opportunity for students to tap into their prior knowledge and experiences and form a connection with their study of biochemistry.  By transferring the knowledge from their personal lives to our classroom and from our classroom to their personal lives, students are able to conceptualize the curriculum in a more meaningful context and a deeper, more authentic learning will occur.

Direct Instruction - Periods and Groups, Oh My!

20 minutes

As 9th graders, the students have all been introduced to the periodic table in varying degrees throughout their educational careers. The Lecture Notes in today's lesson will review the very basics of matter and periodic table to ensure that all students have the same strong foundation to build their understanding of Biochemistry. In addition to reviewing the composition of an atom and the design of the periodic table, students will start to visualize and predict trends in chemical reactions between the groups of elements.

Students will record their lecture notes on their own paper titled, Lecture Notes: Review of the Periodic Table. Samples of Student Work to demonstrate student note-taking strategies and recording of the curriculum as it is presented to the class.

Since this content is a review for most of the students from their 8th grade science class, an emphasis will be placed on expanding the students' understanding and use of the periodic table as a tool to guide their biochemistry experiences!  Shockingly, many students are required to memorize portions of the periodic table!  A more effective long-term strategy is to encourage students to learn how to use the periodic table as a tool and insist they repeatedly use these skills. By connecting the periodic table with the experiences in class, students are able to predict trends for the families of elements and hypothesize the types of bonds that will form due to the elements' positions on the periodic table.  

The periodic table is the strongest tool you can equip you students with as they embark on their adventure in the word of biochemistry!

Independent Practice - Identifying The Elements

10 minutes

Now that the students have listened/transcribed lecture notes and written a creative writing piece with our content, they are ready to demonstrate their understanding of the periodic table through this independent practice activity.  Students will use their textbook or a copy of the periodic table to complete the Practice Worksheet: Using the Periodic Table.  The practice worksheet will ask students to calculate the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons, as well as identify the elements based on their symbol.  

Samples of Student Work for the Using the Periodic Table Practice Activity.  

Example of Classroom Procedures: Using Stamps To Indicate Homework Completion - The student work samples above show that the assignment has been stamped to indicate the student's completion of the assignment by the due date.  As a follow-up, the teacher will lead a whole-class review of the homework content either in its entirety or focus only on difficult questions based on the needs of the students in the class.  Students' need will determine the amount of time that is dedicated to the review of the nightly homework assignments.  This specific assignment is a general review of the previous year's curriculum and will be quickly reviewed to ensure student understanding of how to use the periodic table.

Close - Practice With The Periodic Table

5 minutes

With two minutes left in the class period, students will turn their attention to the front of the classroom for a final check for understanding.  Students may reference their notes if necessary to answer the following questions:

  • Which group on the periodic table has one valence electron?
  • Describe this group's level of chemical reactions.
  • Which group on the period table needs to add one valence electron
  • Describe this group's level of chemical reactions.
  • Explain why these two groups commonly engage in chemical reactions with each other.

Student responses to the above review questions will be recorded on the back of their practice worksheet.  If there is time, students will pair-share and the teacher will review any areas of student concern.  

Sample of Student Responses.  By analyzing these three student responses, it is evident that the students understood how to determine the number of valence electrons for the elements in each of the groups, but there was a huge disconnect in the concept of chemical reactivity.  These quick formative assessments help to identify areas of confusion or misconception and can be quickly remedied with a brief review before the end of the lesson.  The opportunity to clear up student confusion before the end of the class period is invaluable so the students can complete their homework with the correct understanding of today's curriculum.

Students will complete their practice worksheet for homework if they ran out of time in today's lesson.