Element BINGO

24 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to practice using the Element's names, symbols, and atomic numbers by playing BINGO.

Big Idea

Manipulating the names, symbols, and atomic numbers on the Periodic Table is an important skill for working with chemical reactions. BINGO makes anything fun!

NGSS Background

This lesson is based on California's Middle School Integrated Model of NGSS.

NGSS Performance Expectation (PE): (MS-PS1-1) Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.

Science and Engineering Practice: (2) Developing and Using Models - develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.

Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI): PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter - Substances are made from different types of atoms, which combine with one another in various ways. Atoms form molecules that range in size from two to thousands of atoms.

Crosscutting Concepts: (5) Energy and Matter - matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical processes.

This lesson familiarizes students with the Atomic Names and Symbols. This knowledge becomes very important when students are trying to balance equations (MS-PS1-1). They need to know that specific symbols correspond to certain elements. The periodic table is a model that can be used to predict results of a chemical reaction. Before students are able to use the periodic table as a model for predictions the must first feel comfortable with the names and symbols within the periodic table (SP2). The more students manipulate the elements the more they understand that atoms are not created or destroyed in chemical reactions, they simply change forms (CCC5).

In order to have meaningful conversations with students regarding chemical equations, students need to have memorized or at least be familiar with Atomic Symbols.

Game Set-Up

30 minutes

In order to effectively work and balance chemical equations it becomes necessary to learn the element's names and symbols. This can be turned into the game BINGO!

Print out and laminate Element BINGO Boards and Element BINGO Calling Cards.

The Element BINGO Boards come in a set of 25 unique boards plus one blank (Element BINGO - Blank). I printed out the boards on different colors of copy paper to add an element of fun. I laminated them for added protection so I would be able to use them year after year. I print out multiple copies of the blank board so the kids have a chance to make their own board and have a sense of ownership over the periodic table.

In order to call only one element at a time I made a set of Element BINGO Calling Cards. Print out these cards (I used card stock) and laminate them for added protection. During the game a caller will first call out the atomic symbols, then graduate to calling atomic names only. If this is too complicated for your students you can start with atomic numbers.

You will also need a set of markers for the kids to mark their boards with. I have a large bag of dried pinto beans that I keep for that occasion. I let them know that the first pinto bean that is thrown will loose this game for any table that I SUSPECT may have thrown them. I also let them know that this bag came from the Kindergarten classroom and many of these beans may have been in the noses of little kids - NOT TRUE, but it stops my eighth graders from needlessly playing with the pinto beans.

Student Activity

50 minutes
  1. Pass out the Element BINGO Boards, one to each student (50 unique cards). 
  2. Identify to the students what their BINGO target is going to be (5 across, 4 square, blackout, etc...).
  3. Choose a student to be the caller. Have that student lay the Element BINGO Calling Cards on a desk for easy reference when BINGO is called.
  4. Monitor their progress.

When a students calls BINGO I double check their marks and allow this student to call the next game. I have found that element names can be difficult for students to pronounce, if this is the case I allow them to call the symbol or atomic number.

TIP: I allow my students to reference a copy of the periodic table while they are playing BINGO. The first game we play I make sure the element symbols are called. After they get the hang of the game then I have the element names called - go slower as the class need to constantly reference their periodic tables and the BINGO boards. When BINGO is called the winner becomes the new caller. IF BINGO is called by mistake, the mistaken student is the only one to clear their card - the remainder continue that round. In between games I allow my students to trade boards. 


The last game of the day I pass out the blank boards Element BINGO - Blank and let my student make their own. To personalize their board and provide another opportunity for them to look at the periodic table, each board must use color and must be an accurate representation of a square on the periodic table.