Lesson Plan

Elements and the Periodic Table

Students will learn about Elements and how they are organized on the Periodic Table

Students will:

learn the relationship between matter and the elements
share their associations with different elements
understand the purpose of the Periodic Table of Elements and its patterns of organization
investigate the properties of particular elements

identify different atoms by the number of protons in the nucleus and realize that the number of electrons equals the number of protons in a neutral atom.

Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes


Engage students by having them watch this animated video at home the day before class. It shows two teens discussing the periodic table.

Students will take the test that accompanies the video and  defines the key vocabulary words that are displayed.

This lesson is constructed with the goal of using a simple SAMR ladder and coupling it to Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.


This step represents Substitution in the SAMR model and Remember in Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. Students use the video instead of a textbook to acquire basic knowledge about elements and the periodic table.

Student Instructions

Watch this video that introduces you to the periodic table of elements. Answer the  questions that accompany the video and know the definitions of the key vocabulary words provided.


Students will watch a short Ted-Ed video that tells the history of the table and how it became organized the way it is today.

Students will be given a link to Ted-Ed's periodic videos that provide a lesson about each element on the periodic table. This site will be used to help them complete the group assignment.


 This step represents Substitution in the SAMR model and Understand in Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. By watching this video and answering the questions, students begin a process of gathering information  about how the periodic table is organized and what information it contains about atomic structures of elements and their properties.

Student Instructions

Watch the Ted-Ed video and then be prepared to answer the 8 questions that follow.

Open Pear Deck to answer the questions and we will review the answers.


Organize the class into eight small groups (Groups A through H) and assign each group its own set of five elements to investigate --see "Elements to Investigate" sheet.
Inform groups that their first task is to figure out what their set of five elements has in common. Groups should look each element up on the Periodic Videos site given in the previous step. (http://ed.ted.com/periodic-videos) in order to come up with a common trait among their assigned elements.
Next, have groups come up with an original title for their set of elements, based on the commonality they find in their investigation. Groups should remember that their ultimate goal will be to represent their elements as "element super heroes" that have extraordinary properties. For example, Group B could be called "The Harrowing Halogens" or Group C could be called "The All Mighty Alkali" (due to their status as Alkali and Alkali Earth Metals). Groups should write their original titles on the "Elements to Investigate"  Google document that the class will collaborate on.


Each group's title should be assessed to determine if it accurately reflects a commonality among its set of elements.
Each group's set of element descriptions should be assessed to determine if they were completed accurately and creatively.


This step represents Augmentation in SAMR and Apply in Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.  Using  Periodic Videos as a tool for visualization , students explore the concepts covered in the resources described in the previous part of the lesson. The group exercise is driven by the evolution of student understanding, as measured by the assessment at the completion of the task.

Student Instructions

Explain that the Periodic Table of Elements arranges all the elements that have been identified in a pattern that groups elements with similar properties in the same area of the chart.
Inform students that they will be using the Periodic Videos website to help them investigate some of the more well-known elements, to research their extraordinary properties, and to then personify them as "element super heroes" on the Google document.


 The teacher should provide direct instruction as necessary on the electron structure and trends of the periodic table.  This lesson content will be determined by the comments and questions that students provide during the collaborative assignment.

Teacher can use Ptable website to demonstrate all of the concepts with visual aids.

Begin with visual aides; explain how elements make up objects in everyday life; exist in different phases (solid [Au and Ag jewelry], liquid [Hg in thermometer], gas [He in balloon]). 

Key concepts to review:

What is an element?

  • The simplest form of matter; cannot be decomposed into simpler substances; matter
  • composed of one kind of atom, each atom has same properties; atoms all have the same atomic number

Break down into name and atomic symbol o Ex: Carbon o Review subatomic particles (electrons, protons, neutrons) 

  •  Atomic number (Z): number of protons in atomic nucleus


This step represents Modification in the SAMR model and Analyze in Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. The students  apply their knowledge and use problem-solving approaches to questions raised in the materials from the group project. Collaboration with the other groups along with instruction from the teacher using the Ptable website will reinforce the key concepts for the students that have outstanding questions.

Student Instructions

Students should have inserted comments or questions to the teacher during the group project. This lesson time will be used to respond to any questions or areas of difficulty demonstrated during the presentation of the project results.

Students will be introduced to the Ptable website and the teacher will demonstrate all of the useful information it contains.


Free, Free to Try, Paid

Assign an element to small groups of students (or let them pick their own) and have them conduct research using the periodic table.

Students will create a commercial for their element of choice.

Student teams use a digital camcorder and WeVideo to create a commercial about an element. Students use any of the resources provided including the textbook to gather the information about their element.  Students use Google Docs to write the script for their commercial. Student teams rehearse and then present and videotape their commercial about their element. Students import their video into WeVideo and edit it to complete their commercial. When the project is done, students present the movies to the class.

Then have students build three-dimensional models of their element and display them in the classroom. 

The "Essential Elements" game would be fun to use as a timed challenge activity. Two groups of students race against the clock to correctly build one of the everyday objects provided in the game.



 This step represents Redefinition in the SAMR model and Create in Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.  Students will use the resources in the application NOVA Elements and others to create a digital video commercial. They may also create a 3D model of any elements they wish and display them for all to see. 

Student Instructions

Teams will use a digital camcorder and WeVideo to create a commercial about an element. Commercial must include the following information:  the name, the symbol, the atomic number, the atomic mass, a picture of the element, and common historical and/or modern uses of the element. Include eight or more other physical and chemical properties of the element. These properties may include color, density, ability to conduct electricity, texture, phase of matter at room temperature, hardness, luster, malleability, ductility, boiling point, and melting point.

To earn extra credit or classroom points, choose an element in this application and then play the "Essential Elements" game to build a 3D model of your element and then print it out for us to display in the classroom.


This web page has a Jeopardy-style review game for the periodic table of elements. There are five columns of questions, and five rows that range in value from five to twenty points. Beneath the question selection board is a link to the scoreboard and an option to edit the game. 

The answer key and questions are attached to the lesson as a link.


This step represents Modification in the SAMR model and Evaluate in Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.  Students  work together to answer questions using the Jeopardy game. They will demonstrate their comprehension of the key points of the topic.

Student Instructions

Students will stay in their groups from the previous exercise.

Each group will get a turn at choosing a Jeopardy square and they will have 10 seconds to come up with the answer. If they do not get the answer correct, then the next group gets an opportunity. The group with the most points when all of the squares have been attempted wins.