Investigating the Periodic Table
Students are introduced to the organization of the periodic table. Once they have been given a brief introduction, they will be asked to research an element of their choice and give a presentation. The culminating activity will be to investigate the amount of mercury in our food.
- Students demonstrate a general understanding of the arrangement of the periodic table of elements.
- Students explore the history of the periodic table and the reason for its odd shape.
- Students investigate the mercury found in the ocean’s ecosystems.
Science: Freshman Biology or Sophomore Chemistry
9th or 10th
One 90 minute lesson
Opening (10 minutes):
- Begin with a warm-up assignment. Ask students to write down three to five things they recall learning about the periodic table or elements in general. This will serve as a pre-assessment of previous knowledge.
- Engage the class in a whole group discussion. Instruct students to write down any different ideas they hear from their own.
Body of Lesson (60 minutes):
- Show the video clip, Developing the Periodic Table. This video explores how the periodic table of elements took shape and how the periodic table developed its current form.
- Continue the lesson by giving the instructions for the day’s assignment. The class will be put in pairs for this assignment.
- Pairs of students will need access to a computer to research any element of their choosing (supply a list of all of the elements, so that once an element is picked the next group must pick a different element.).
- Ask students to create a visually appealing poster for their chosen element on an 8.5x11 piece of paper. The poster should include everything generally present on the periodic table, as well as some history or anything else they find interesting.
- Continue with the assignment until all elements are researched. Display the posters on one of the classroom walls to create a giant periodic table. This will make a wonderful resource for students for the rest of the year.
- After completing the posters, the pairs will be instructed to access the interactive, Mercury Calculator.
- Instruct students to read the background essay found in the Support Materials section of the LearningMedia resource, Mercury Calculator, and explore the interactive. Provide students with the document, Mercury Guided Notes, to complete after viewing the interactive.
Closure (20 minutes):
For the remaining time in class, pairs will give a short presentation of their posters and then add it to the wall periodic table. By placing the poster in the correct place on the wall, students will demonstrate an understanding of the element researched and knowledge about where it should be placed in respect to the other elements.
- This giant periodic table is a visual aid for any ELL and SPED students for the rest of the semester.
- Working in pairs will help those students who may have difficulty completing the assignment independently.
Mercury Guided Notes: PDF
- P.12.A.2: Students know elements in the periodic table are arranged into groups and periods by repeating patterns and relationships.
- L.12.B.3: Students know disease disrupts the equilibrium that exists in a healthy organism.
PBS LearningMedia: Mercury Calculator
Lesson Contributed by John Metzger
For a demonstration or more details, contact Karen Karst-Hoskins
at email@example.com or call 775.682.7805 or 775.544.9061.
Funding provided by NV Energy and the Walmart State Giving Program.