## learning the First 20 elements of the periodic table

Today I introduced my First Year science class to the first twenty elements of the Periodic Table. The students started in groups of 3 with a pack of symbols. The symbols for the first twenty elements are printed on small, coloured, laminated cards. There are eight sets in a pack. Each pack is on a different coloured card and this makes it easy to sort them after various active learning instances. I put a countdown timer here http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown/ up on the overhead projector and gave the students 4 minutes to work out the names of the symbols. I asked them to sort the symbols into three columns on their AO whiteboards: green (easy), orange (medium), and red (hard). I put a poster of the Periodic Table on the ground in the centre of the room and students were given three passes-which could be used by each students once. The passes are also laminated and generic as they can be reused with any topic. The students were no allowed to shout back and they were only allowed to visit the poster one at a time. They could talk to other students at the poster (about elements only!) The buzzer went at the end of the 4 minutes and the students must put lids on the markers and sit at their whiteboards.

Next we learned the 'New Periodic Table' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgVQKCcfwnU song here and each group sang it back to the class. When the students were singing I turned down the volume. They really enjoyed this. I asked them for 'two stars on a wish' feedback on their whiteboard as a a reflection of their learning during the 80 minutes class. The feedback was 'I loved it all', 'I will remember the song-its stuck in my head', 'I liked trying to memorise the elements through a song'. I also has one student say as a wish that the song was a bit fast to learn it so I am going to try and download it to see if I can slow it down on Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. I used the countdown timer to give the students a break during the double classes. I have a group scoreboard and if one member of the group returns to the lab after the buzzer then a point is deducted from that group. This encourages students to socialise during the break and to look out for one another upon returning to make sure they are on time.

The third activity of the class was 'Speed dating'. I ask the students to bring their lab stools and to sit in the aisle of the lab opposite a partner - I end up with two rows of twelve students so it is a tight squeeze! It works with 24 first years but not with 24 sixth years! I would need a bigger learning space. The students sit opposite each other and each student had a laminated card with the symbol of an element. I checked that they could name the element from their card. They ask the student opposite them the symbol-with a ten second wait, and if they student cannot name the symbol they must teach the name of the symbol to the student. The second student asks their card. They swop cards and on signal from the teacher, every students moves one seat to the left. This activity continues until the students return to their original seat and when they have their original card returned to them. The students returned to their seats and completed a test on the symbols of the first twenty elements. I used peer assessment and self assessment to gather information on their learning during the class.

Homework: The students were asked to list the names and symbols of the first twenty elements in a table with three columns. They have to find an object in their home or everyday life that contains each element. They draw an image of this object in the third column opposite the element and the symbol.

Next we learned the 'New Periodic Table' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgVQKCcfwnU song here and each group sang it back to the class. When the students were singing I turned down the volume. They really enjoyed this. I asked them for 'two stars on a wish' feedback on their whiteboard as a a reflection of their learning during the 80 minutes class. The feedback was 'I loved it all', 'I will remember the song-its stuck in my head', 'I liked trying to memorise the elements through a song'. I also has one student say as a wish that the song was a bit fast to learn it so I am going to try and download it to see if I can slow it down on Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. I used the countdown timer to give the students a break during the double classes. I have a group scoreboard and if one member of the group returns to the lab after the buzzer then a point is deducted from that group. This encourages students to socialise during the break and to look out for one another upon returning to make sure they are on time.

The third activity of the class was 'Speed dating'. I ask the students to bring their lab stools and to sit in the aisle of the lab opposite a partner - I end up with two rows of twelve students so it is a tight squeeze! It works with 24 first years but not with 24 sixth years! I would need a bigger learning space. The students sit opposite each other and each student had a laminated card with the symbol of an element. I checked that they could name the element from their card. They ask the student opposite them the symbol-with a ten second wait, and if they student cannot name the symbol they must teach the name of the symbol to the student. The second student asks their card. They swop cards and on signal from the teacher, every students moves one seat to the left. This activity continues until the students return to their original seat and when they have their original card returned to them. The students returned to their seats and completed a test on the symbols of the first twenty elements. I used peer assessment and self assessment to gather information on their learning during the class.

Homework: The students were asked to list the names and symbols of the first twenty elements in a table with three columns. They have to find an object in their home or everyday life that contains each element. They draw an image of this object in the third column opposite the element and the symbol.

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