Thursday, August 21, 2014

Periodic Eggs

One of the things I like to do the first week of school is to give students a group problem-solving activity. They get to know each other a little more, and I get to see who takes on what role in a group (who are the leaders? who works slowly? who needs to slow down? who needs redirection?). This helps me figure out how to group students for future activities.

In 4th grade, students study electricity and magnetism for physical science. (In California public schools, students study physical, life, AND earth sciences in the same year. There are so so many concepts to teach.) As a basis for understanding electricity, I teach my students a little bit about atoms. This lesson is an introduction to the periodic table of elements. Students organize these Faberge eggs based on the shape of the jewels, the number of jewels, and the number of rows of jewels.

The photo above is upside down to the viewer. The egg with one jewel is the first jewel and is in the upper left-hand corner. The number of jewels increases by 1 as you move down the first column. The number of jewels also increases as you move across the row. In the first row, there is an increase of 1. In the second row, there is an increase of 2 - 2, 4, 6, 8. In the third row, there is an increase of 3 - 3, 6, 9, etc. In the fourth row, there is an increase of 4 - 4, 8, 12, etc. And so on.

Tomorrow, we will read about the periodic table, take a look at it, and explore how our activity relates to it. Froot Loop atoms will be next week...

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