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!
I updated the Google Slides and worksheet for my lesson on drawing Bohr Diagrams. This lesson will walk your students through the basics on how to draw a Bohr Diagram for the first 20 elements on the periodic table. I also created a simple worksheet for students to record their drawings and do independent practice.
You can access them at:
For additional lessons related to atoms and the periodic table, please click on the tags below.
During our chemistry unit, playing games is a fun way to become familiar with the elements and the vocabulary associated with the periodic table.
Different ways to play:
- Say the element symbol
- Say the atomic number
- Say the name of the element
- Describe the properties of the element:
- “I am the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature’
- “I am used in light bulb filaments and have 74 protons”
- “My atomic mass is 52”
- “I have 29 electrons”
Different ways to win:
- Any 5 spaces in a row that are vertical, horizontal, or diagonal
- An “X”, “L”, or “T” formation
- takes longer to win
- “L” or “T” can be in any orientation such as sideways or upside down
- After a few rounds, have students switch cards with their seat mate, if either one wins, they both win
- Collect all bingo cards, shuffle and hand out, if someone wins, the person with the card and the person who made card are both winners
- Small prizes such as stickers or other knick-knacks are fun to give out