3 Free Lesson Ideas for Teaching the Periodic Table

Did you know the country Argentina is named after the element silver (Ag) which is argentum in Latin?

Did you know the only letter not in the periodic table is ‘J’? 

Ok, these are fun facts about the periodic table but why is it one of the most important tools in the history of chemistry? 

The periodic table is a directory that lists an ordered system of identified elements that make up our Universe. Trust me, it does get more exciting…  Elements are used to create products and technology we see every day in modern society. The United Nations has declared 2019 “The International Year of the Periodic Table of The Chemical Elements”. This year is the 150th anniversary of Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev discovering the periodic system. The modern periodic table is based closely on the ideas he used, and its invention is one of the most significant achievements in Science.

The National Curriculum in England outlines a purpose of study for Science at Key Stage 3. A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. All pupils should be taught and encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes. To put it simply, the periodic table organises elements according to similar properties so you can tell the characteristics of an element just by looking at its location in the table. It’s surprising to think that a chart made up of rows and columns can be used to do the above!  

As the school year starts, we will be beginning our science lessons with atoms, elements and the periodic table. If you’re looking to kick-start your chemistry lessons with a periodic table workshop, here are some fun ways to introduce it to your students. 

1) Interactive starter activity

Give each student a piece of card labelled with an element from group 1-7. Ask students to arrange themselves into correct groups using a Periodic table to find their locations. Find our free resource here. Download and print Kent-Teach Periodic Table.  

Once the class are in their correct places, ask each student to present one of their properties. Students can start their sentence with ‘My element is better than yours because…’. 

2) Creating Element songs  

Create a knowledge bank on the board with key words and facts about elements in the periodic table. Ask the students to get into groups to create a song about the periodic table. Their composition must include at least four facts and 10 key words from the knowledge bank. If your students are feeling confident, ask them to accompany their song with a musical instrument. 

3) Treasure Hunt 

Set up a treasure hunt in your classroom with real life everyday objects made from elements. Ask the students to search the classroom in groups to try and find the hidden objects. Place symbol labels on classroom tables and ask students to lay their objects next to the correct symbol. Once all objects are found, review with your class to find out what their objects are made from. Some objects you can use are coins, batteries and jewellery.

All the above are creative and fun ideas to get your students challenged and engaged. Let’s deliver an outstanding periodic table lesson and remember to reflect on what went well and what you could change in the future. To help you plan an outstanding lesson, find out more on our blog Tips and tricks on becoming an outstanding teacher.  

Comments are closed