Secret mysteries of the periodic table unlocked! To the naked eye, the Periodic Table of the Elements appears to be a chart filled with numbers and letters. To the learned eye, the periodic table is home to many secret patterns and useful information about the properties of the elements all house in an elegant classification system. This lesson introduces students to so that they may read, use and interpret the patterns of the periodic table and affords students opportunities to practice science skills such as developing models to describe unobservable mechanisms (SP2) and analyzing and interpreting data to provide evidence for phenomena (SP4). While study of the periodic table is not specifically referenced in the NGSS, two related performance expectations within the Matter and Its Interactions Core Disciplinary Idea are linked:
MS-PS1-1: Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
MS-PS1-2:Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
As students explore the periodic table as a classification system, they are able to recognize patterns within graphs, charts, and images that can be used to identify patterns in data (CCC).
This is a stand alone investigation or can be used as part of a unit of study with the following lessons:
This project is a research-based inquiry investigation including multiple lessons taught over the span of 1 week. To help manage the magnitude of this project, you will find the project split into 3 parts.
In order to ENGAGE students in this lesson, students view a video (or live presentation of these slides) in order to get the brain juices flowing. This video introduces what the periodic table of the elements is and what it does, a little history of its making and asks students to consider some essential questions about the periodic table.
The EXPLORE stage of the lesson is to get students involved in the topic so that they start to build their own understanding. To help students explore the complexities of the periodic table, students work through various inquiry activities as outlined in the Periodic Table Project Student Guide.
The exploration activities are broken down into three main sections:
As noted in the video, depending on how much exposure students have already had, this first activity may be a review or require students to research to find the information. A review of student work individually or as a class is beneficial to ensure students are on the same page as they move on to more complicated activities. The video about Bohr Models referenced in the previous video is available here:
2) Coloring and Labeling a Periodic Table: This video discusses Section 2 (found on Page 2 of the Periodic Table Project Student Guide). Links for periodic table templates are here: Periodic Table of the Elements - Basic or Periodic Table of the Elements - Advanced.
The only real student challenge associated with this activity is paying close attention to detail when following the given steps. Students have a partner check their completed periodic tables before submitting them for teacher approval to help facilitate the use of the checklist provided. An example of a completed periodic table is provided here: Periodic Table Project - Colored Periodic Table.
Here is a video showing students constructing their mini-periodic table:
This example, Mini-Periodic Table - Student Work, is helpful to use as an exemplar so students can check their work on the individual element cards and arrange the cards in the correct order.
For next steps, continue on to Part 2, which includes the EXPLAIN components of this lesson; Time: 1-2 50-minute lessons or equivalent block periods.