Periodic Table Videos

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Students will be able to self-select a series of videos about elements on the periodic table and record their findings.

Big Idea

The entire periodic table serves as a menu for selecting shorts videos about each individual element.

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 (SEP) 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

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 (CCC) 5: Energy and Matter

This lesson allows students to work independantly at their own pace to discover what they want to learn about the elements on the periodic table. This independence teaches them that they are responsible for their own learning and gets them out of the mindset that information will be given to them. They choose the videos and report what they have learned.  

The goal of this lesson is to introduce a resource that students can use to investigate the periodic table.

Student Activity

55 minutes

The University of Nottingham has created a series of videos that correspond to elements on the periodic table. The periodic table serves as the menu for selecting each video.

The Periodic Table of Videos -University of Nottingham

 If your school site blocks youtube, use this site: The Periodic Table of Videos (also from the University of Nottingham but older, not updated, and outside of youtube.

TED has a similar site: TED Periodic Videos

We recently issued Chromebooks to all our eighth graders so I do this activity in my classroom, prior to this I scheduled a day in the computer lab and made sure I had enough headphones for all my students.

There is no possible way that I could physically demonstrate all the elements on the periodic table. However, this video collection allows my students to experience the entire periodic table. Videos run in length from 2 minutes up to 12 minutes. The included interviews and demonstrations of the element's properties are hosted by colorful characters with British accents. The kids love it.

I require all my students to view a minimum of six videos and create a scientific drawing for each video they watched. Each drawing must include color, a drawing that depicts the element, facts about the specific element, and related trivia. If they finish early I allow them to continue watching videos until the class period is over.

Student Work Example

We allowed students to take their Chromebooks home (trial basis) and asked the parents to record what they did on them in their free time. The internal setting still forced all web activity through our internet filter. A parent sent me this video of her son watching the Periodic Table Videos on his free time. It was exciting to think that this learning rated as equally as high on this student's mind as Minecraft.