As the school year starts, we are beginning our science studies with a study of matter. What does that mean? We will be talking about atoms, elements, the periodic table, chemical and physical properties, states of matter, chemical reactions and more.
Chemistry is one of those topics that can strike panic into people. Basic chemistry doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember that these aren’t lessons to get a graduate degree in chemistry.
Chemistry is foundational for further studies in other science courses and needed for various career prep (including nursing) so shouldn’t be avoided. To help make it less of a chore, I will be sharing our chemistry study with you. Today I am sharing some periodic table fun activities.
Levels of the Organization of Life
We started our study with a basic overview of the organization of human being, this helps get kids to buy in right away.
If you aren’t familiar with the basic structure, it looks like this…
Then we move on to talking about components and organization of the chemical level. The chemical level of organization contains mixtures, solutions, and compounds made of atoms of elements. Elements are classified according to their chemical properties and arranged into a chart called the periodic table. The smallest unit of an element is the atom.
We used the periodic table to talk about the subatomic parts of an atom (the subunits of an atom) which are protons, neutrons, and electrons. We also introduced new vocabulary: atomic number, atomic weight, atomic mass unit. I used an interactive notebook for covering the periodic table. You can also grab this periodic table resource here.
Fun Ways to Teach Atomic Structure
Using the information in the periodic table, I had my kids build atoms on paper plates using candy.
We end up with something like this…
I have used this exact activity for years and it is always a success. It is great hands-on reinforcement. You can also use paper hole punches or beads instead of candy. There are lots of ways to incorporate fun into teaching atoms and elements .
Periodic Table Fun Activities
The kids have to complete a periodic table wanted poster for an element of the periodic table. If you are interested in grabbing the interactive notebook or wanted posters, click here. You can grab the book through this referral link, The Complete Periodic Table.
Because the periodic table is a foundational piece of any study of chemistry you will find that the periodic table activities for high school and middle school overlap.
If you are interested in accessing the atoms and ions worksheet, please enter your email below.