Monday, January 30, 2012

Edible Elements!

This is one of my favorite lessons of all time.  I tried it last year and it was very successful, both with giving me a little behavior leverage and with student learning and comprehension.  After teaching about the periodic table and elements, compounds, and mixtures, I do this lesson.

This is a screen shot of the intro/ modeling I did at the beginning of class.  Then, the kids picked an element with atomic number 1-10 and replicated this on their own paper with their element.  I didn't say anything about NOT using Beryllium, and they were such good workers, none of them took the easy way out and used it. :)  Talk about a happy teacher.  This is a little difficult for them, especially in the construction phase and the rather abstract concepts.  They seemed to comprehend the material and the standard much better after the activity.  In fact, while they were in line at lunch, the math teacher on my team asked some of the kids about what they'd done, and they gave a very good, accurate explanation to him. 

Note: I purposefully don't tell them that the higher the atomic number of the element, the more candy they get to eat.  If they're clever enough to figure that out before the activity, great, but if not, too bad.  Nobody complained about not getting equal amounts of candy....well, probably because they were getting to eat candy FOR A GRADE.  I'll take you through the process. \

I also modeled and did a think aloud (TAP strategy) as I modeled the construction of a hydrogen atom that I kept available for them to look at or use as needed.

The supplies.  I only put a limited amount out to minimize sneaking.
I used: paper towels, toothpicks, marshmallows (nucleus), twizzlers, M&Ms, skittles, and gummy bears.  The candy is easy to change for different candies and is also available in off-brands to be less expensive.  I just used these candies because of twizzler preference and because the gummy bears are easy to stick with the toothpicks.  I tried using frosting as glue one class last year, and it was a gigantic disaster, not to mention the mess and the lack of sanitation involved.

What you need reminders in case you forgot.  I supervised this table today, which I think was helpful to the kids.

Getting supplies.  Only one or two at a time.  The first to finish their designs on paper were the first to get their supplies to cut down on wait time.

In process.

Construction phase.

During the construction.

Woohooo! I did it right!

Good job, guys.

One edible element.  I believe this is Lithium.

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