Homeschool Learning: Discovering & Understanding the Periodic Table of Elements

Alex decided to ditch the science path that we were on this homeschool year in order to learn about chemistry (yeah, we often change it up mid-year).  I knew that learning about chemistry would involve learning about the periodic table of elements and that scared me.  Once I got over this fear I found many fun, and often FREE, ways to learn about the periodic table of elements.  We really had a fun time discovering & understanding the periodic table of elements, my fear of chemistry has eased quite a bit!

Discovering & Understanding the Periodic Table of Elements

There are many great books about the periodic table, lots of great videos about the elements, and several fun projects that help demonstrate how the elements react.  I am happy to report that we are both learning a ton on this periodic table learning journey!  Who knew that discovering and understanding the periodic table of elements could be fun?!?

“Chemistry, huh?  Chemistry, really?”  That was my reaction when Alex told me that he wanted to learn about chemistry.  We homeschool (we are interest-led homeschoolers so he gets to choose the things he learns about)  and this scared me because I was going to be the one to help him discover and understand chemistry.  I knew that the best place to begin this learning journey would be the periodic table of elements, even though this was a topic that totally initimidated me.

FREE Learning Ideas to Understand the Periodic Table of Elements

After the fear wore off I decided that this could be a really fun adventure that we would both learn from.  I had to remind myself that this is one of the reasons we homeschool, I get to learn alongside my kids.

Periodic Table Video

We started off on our periodic table learning adventure with this fun video that sings all of the elements and shares facts about them, my kids all have fun watching it while I really admire the people that sing it:

 

Periodic Table of Elements Notebook

We are creating a periodic table of elements science notebook to chronicle this unit study to have handy during our annual homeschool evaluation.

I found several free printables of the periodic table that were very helpful in creating this notebook.  Here are a few:

Periodic Table Books

We are using two books to help us learn and create the notebook.

The first book is Fizz, Bubble & Flash!: Element Explorations & Atom Adventures for Hands-On Science Fun! (Williamson Kids Can! Series).  Alex is loving this book!

 

This book has a bunch of information about the elements and has fun experiments for them as well.

What do elements have to do with your everyday life? They make your world — and beyond — move and groove, fizz, bubble and flash! Discover what you have in common with party balloons, footballs, computer chips, pizza dough, table salt and TV screens; “Break” a water molecule, produce fluorescent light (without using a switch!), enjoy a half-life snack, compare antiperspirants, and separate the iron from your breakfast cereal!; Find out why broccoli smells, why soda makes a coin shine, the secret of static cling, and what makes a smoke detector work.

It offers a great introduction to the elements then breaks them down into their families.  I checked this book out from the library at first but quickly decided to purchase our own copy because we are enjoying it so much!  Not all elements have an experiment but there are plenty in here to satisfy kids (and parents!).  I have to admit that I exhale a deep breath when Shane is home for the projects, yup I’m still a bit intimidated.  Here they are working on a hydrogen project from the book.

Discovering & Understanding the Periodic Table of Elements

The second book that we use is The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book.

 

This is a great resource for learning about the periodic table of elements and is very useful in building our science notebook.  There is an information page on an element then a coloring page about the element, Alex enjoys reading about the elements then chilling out coloring the page.

A coloring book to familiarize the user with the Primary elements in the Periodic Table. The Periodic Table Coloring Book was received worldwide with acclaim.

You could really have fun with this coloring book using these crayons!   Que Interesante created this clever sticker pack for crayons, effectively turning color names into the chemical compounds the correlate with each hue.  I think this is such an amazing idea!

Periodic Table Crayons
photo via: QueInteresante

I have organized our periodic table of elements homeschool unit following the order that they are introduced in the Fizz, Bubble, & Flash book.  We divided the notebook into the following sections:

  • Alkali Metals
  • Alkaline Earths
  • Main-Group Metals
  • Metalloids
  • Nonmetals
  • Halogens
  • Noble Gases
  • Transition Metals
  • Lanthanides
  • Actinides

Alex reads about an element in both books mentioned above, performs any experiments in the Fizz, Bubble, & Flash book,  colors the element page in the The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book, then we head to the computer to watch a few fun and information videos online.  I place the completed papers into his science notebook in the proper spot.  We often pick up additional books at the library to borrow and learn from.

Periodic Table Lapbook

When we have covered all of the elements Alex will complete this FREE lapbook from homeschool share to wrap up our homeschool science periodic table of elements unit.  This free lapbook follows the Fizz, Bubble & Flash book.

Periodic Table of Elements Lapbook (FREE)
via Homeschoolshare.com

We are really having fun learning about the periodic table of elements.  Had I been exposed to this topic in such a fun manner I know my Chemistry anxiety would not exist.

Fun Periodic Table of Elements Activities

Here are several more fun ideas & resources for discovering & understanding the periodic table of elements…

Alex enjoys playing games with his Periodic Table Playing Cards .  These cards are high quality and offer a bunch of information and fun at the same time!

 

This Periodic Table Battleship Game that Karyn at Teach Beside Me shared is very fun and educational.  You just need a few file folders and printable periodic tables, easy and fun!

photo credit: Karyn Tripp (Teach Beside Me)
photo credit: Karyn Tripp (Teach Beside Me)

If you would like more worksheets to help reinforce the learning of the periodic table of elements here are a few:

I know that all of my kids will love making (& eating!) atomic cookies.  I discovered these edible elements while reading Heather’s post over at Cultivated by Grace.

Edible Elements: Atomic Cookies
image from: Heather at Cultivated by Grace

I just ordered this Connecting Color Tiles Periodic Table Set for Alex and well, pretty much all of us to play with.

 

The product description sounds awesome, I am sure that we will have a blast with them!

The Connecting Color Tiles Periodic Table Set provides students a hands-on experience with the elements of the periodic table, and is designed for grade 4 and up (age 8+). The 1” x 1″ color-coded tiles snap together and are printed with the atomic symbol, atomic number, atomic weight, and electron configuration of each of the 115 elements. The set also includes 45 additional tiles of common elements for constructing equations and compounds, and an activity guide.

So, that is where we are and what I have regarding resources to help kids (& parents!) discover and learn about the periodic table of elements.  I am sure that I will have more to add once we have finished this unit so stay tuned!

If you have any ideas or resources that would be of help PLEASE share them in the comments, thank you!

Fun Learning Lessons: The Periodic Table of Elements

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8 thoughts on “Homeschool Learning: Discovering & Understanding the Periodic Table of Elements

  1. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My 10 year old has been asking to study the Periodic Table of Elements and short of downloading a few apps and finding a puzzle or two I wasn’t sure how to approach the subject with him. We will definitely be checking out the books and the video!

    • Angela says:

      I am so glad that you found it helpful! Let me know if you find some more fun things to do with this topic that intimidates me so 😉

  2. Tiffany says:

    My son is obsessed with the periodic table right now, so I can’t wait to explore some of these resources with him! Thank you! I’ll have to see if we can find that book at our library, he’s really enjoying Basher’s Elements of Style so I think he’ll enjoy that one as well.

    • Angela says:

      I was so intimidated by this subject so I am happy to be learning about the periodic table as well. I am going to check out Basher’s Elements of Style, thank you!

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