Balancing Chemical Equations Activity – one of my long time favorite activities. Students will learn how to read formulas, count atoms, create and read chemical equations, and balance chemical equations using a hands on activity with color coded formulas cards.
Lesson Resources: Create one set of materials for each pair of students. Store in a large zip-top bag
This is one of my favorite projects of the year and using Google Draw allowed the students to work on it both in class and at home. In the past, we used a software program to design the posters, but it had a lot of restrictions as to when and where they could work on their posters. By using Google Draw, students were also able to share their posters with me and I could proofread it much more easily and offer suggestions.
We hold a scientist ‘draft pick’ when making our selections. Students come up with a list of their ‘top 10’ scientists and each student draws a number. I select a number randomly and whoever has that number gets to choose first. Once a scientist has been chosen, no one else is allowed to pick that person. Sometimes students choose to spin the “Wheel of Science” when they are not sure who to pick and will allow the wheel to pick for them.
Google Draw to design your poster – Print in color on 8 ½ x 11 paper
First, middle, and last name of your scientist
Picture of your scientist
His/her birthday (Month, Day, Year if available)
ONE sentence of why they are famous or “wanted”
This sentence has to be approved
Country he/she was born in
Where he/she did their work – was it at their home, at a school, a lab, etc
Date of death or current age if living today
Summarize His/Her accomplishments in your own words:
One paragraph using 3 – 5 complete sentences
Your name in the bottom RIGHT corner of your poster
List of your sources used for information, pictures, etc on a separate Google Doc.
Choose up to 4 of the following requirements to add to your poster:
A quote by your scientist
1 – 2 additional pictures of your scientist
A picture of what they worked on
Where they went to school/college
If they had any other jobs
Family information: husband/wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters
What else was happening in history when this scientist was famous
Did this scientist work with another scientist?
Who was it and what did they do?
Are there any museums or other places that are named after your scientist? Where is it?
New for 2016 – to see the older version with additional lesson details, please visit my post from last year.
Before starting the activity, I set the stage that they are a group of archeologists and have discovered an ancient tablet at an archeological dig site. Unfortunately, the tablet is broken and as they excavate, they only find a few pieces at a time. What does the ancient table say? Scientists all over the world try to decipher the ancient text…
Words to cut apart (pdf) – this year I removed the word “bone” to change it up a little
white paper cut into 1/4ths or small index cards
This year, I wanted to try something different for this lesson. Instead of seeing how close each group came to the original phrase that was on the “tablet”, I wanted each group to analyze the findings from the other groups to compare their findings and look for similarities and differences. This would be similar to a gallery walk (see video below) but without students explaining their posters, they would view posters at their own pace and choose any 3 posters to compare for each category.
Note – this lesson plan is a modification of the original lesson plan from The University of California Museum of Paleontology (link)
This post highlights the eight Scientific and Engineering Practices and spotlights a few lessons related to each practice. I had this as eight separate posts but decided to consolidate for easier viewing.
For more details and examples about the Science and Engineering Practices, visit NSTA.
Tag: SEP8 – click for more lessons that cover this practice
I created new templates to create your own vocab cut and paste worksheets. The files are located in the Google Drive Folder and were made using Google Draw.
To edit the template, you will need to select:
“File” then “Make a Copy”
Rename the copy
Make edits for your science unit
Google Drive Folder (link): I have all of my vocab sheets posted in one folder so they are easy to find and access. If I find or create any more vocab sheets, they will be included in this folder.
Below are some fun ways to incorporate vocabulary into your lesson plans:
Cut & Paste: Have students cut out the definitions and paste or tape them next to the correct word.
Flashcards: Students will cut out each vocab word and paste it to the front of an index card, then they will cut out and paste the correct definition on to the back of the index card.
Find Your Partner: Give half of the class a vocabulary word and the other half of the class a definition. They will look for their partner and record their answer. Have them come to you to pick up a new word and a new definition and find new partners.
Quiz, Quiz, Trade: Using the flashcards, give each student one vocab word. They will go around the room and quiz each other. After quizzing each other, they will trade flashcards and find a new partner.
Matching: Create a vocab set by laminating and cutting out the words and definitions. Place the words and definitions into a ziptop bag. Have each student or pair of students match the words with their definitions.
Go Fish: Using the matching set above you can play Go Fish. Deal out 3-5 cards per player (depending on the number of students and vocab words) and place the rest upside down in the center. Students will ask each other for a vocab word or a definition, if they don’t have it, they will say “Go Fish” and the student will pick a card from the pile. If they have a matching set, they will place it down. If not, they will add the card to their hand. The first person to place all their cards down wins.
Old Maid: Using the matching set above, you can remove one of the vocab words or definitions from the set. Students will deal out all the cards. Students will pick a card from the person to their right. If they have a matching set, they will set it down. The first person to place all their cards down, wins, the person left with the vocab word or definition without that doesn’t have a matching card is the “Old Maid”.
Dominoes: Using the matching set above, you can have 3-4 students shuffle the words and definitions and deal out to each student. Have one person start by placing a vocab word on the table. If the next person has the definition, have them place it on the table touching the vocab word. The next person will place a vocab word on the table touching the definition of the previous word, and so on until all the words and definitions are used. The first one to get rid of all their cards wins. If a students doesn’t have a definition or new vocab word to put down, they will skip their turn.
Stations: You can set up stations around the room with different vocabulary activities and students can rotate through the stations.
To make any of these games more challenging, you can combine 2 or 3 related sets of vocab into the mix. If you have any other fun ways to review vocabulary, please add to the comment section below.
Note: If you are having trouble seeing the handouts in ‘preview mode’ and it seems to be stuck in the loading phase, click on the boxed arrow (pop-out button) on the top right to open the pdf and view the rest of the pages.
This is a fun way to introduce the families of the periodic table and their properties. The students really enjoy watching the video clips from Periodic Table Videos and the experiments performed by the Chemistry Department at the University of Nottingham.
As a class, we found the location of each family, recorded the elements for each family, discussed their properties, color coded the periodic table, and discussed any patterns they noticed.
Google Slides (Public) – updated for 2016 with links to the YouTube videos to view an element in each family
Handout – (pdf) students take notes for each family and use this is a reference for further lessons
Periodic Table – (Updated 2016 pdf) I like to use this student version of the periodic table from Jefferson Lab for my 6th graders. I photocopy it double sided – one side stays blank while the other side is color coded. If students have binders with a clear pocket on the outside front, I ask that they place it there for quick reference and access.
This activity was featured on the following blog post: The Joy of Chemistry – A Unit in Photos a few years ago. You can read about how she used this lesson in her 3rd grade classroom as part of her Chemistry unit.
Below is a video about Sodium from Periodic Table Videos. They have a lot of great chemistry videos posted for free on their site, be sure to check them out!
Google Slides – students will learn how to find the number of energy levels (shells) for elements in periods 1 – 8 and the number of valence electrons in their outer shells using the periodic table. Updated (Public link)