Atoms and Elements – Activities

Learning Chemistry is tough.  Teaching Chemisty is tough.  How do we explain chemistry concepts to elementary students?  It’s difficult to explain that which is to small to see.  We found a few craft ideas to help us to understand the make up of atoms.  Let’s get started!

We printed out these element worksheets from Half a Hundred Acre Wood.   You don’t necessarily need a worksheet like this – you can just write on blank paper.  Write the name of each element: the full name and the letter abbreviation.  The numbers found on the periodic table tell you: the atomic number and the atomic mass.  Atomic number = number of protonsNumber of protons = number of electrons Atomic Mass = protons + neutrons Have your students figure these numbers out on paper before getting to the craft part.

Example: Boron, B, atomic number is 5.  So there are 5 protons and 5 electrons.  The atomic mass is 11.  So there are 6 neutrons (11- 5 = 6).

Now, with a basic understanding of these terms and numbers, here comes the creative part!

You will need

  • coffee filters
  • markers or colored pencils
  • decorations (stickers, jewels, anything fairly small)

 

  1. Glue coffee filter to colored paper.
  2. Color a circle in the middle for the nucleus.
  3. Label the name of the element – full name and abbreviation.
  4. Use three different types of decorations to make the protons, neutrons, and electrons.  For example, three types of stickers or three different color jewels.
  5. Add correct number of electrons on the outer, white area of the coffee filter
  6. Add the correct number of neutrons and protons inside the nucleus.
  7. Add a hand-drawn picture of something you know about that element.  (optional)
  8. Make a booklet or place in notebook of all the different elements you have learned.

Another option: Follow the directions on the Half a Hundred Acre Wood page on making atomic cookies.

 

 

Other activities for learning about elements, atoms and the periodic table:

  • Find coloring sheets to go along with different elements.  Add them to your notebook.
  • Play Periodic Table Battleship
  • Print out a blank periodic table and label them.  We printed a filled-in version and a blank version.  We cut up the filled-in version and used it as a sort of matching game.
  • Learn more about the Periodic Table
  • We picked up a resource book at the bookstore.
  • Get or make flashcards.  Check out Half a Hundred Acre Woods for more ideas!
  • Disappearing Spoon.  I read this book and found it very interesting.  It explains a lot about Chemistry and different stories relating to the periodic table.  It’s not really something I would read aloud to children, but interesting and informative to any adult or teenager wanting to know more about the periodic table.

Intro to the Periodic Table: Blog Post & Printable Lesson Plan

 

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