element of fun

by Amy

I love presenting the subjects my kids are learning in a variety of forms.  Hands on learning (gonna get all hippy-dippy-touchey-feeley on ya!) using all the senses just seems to resonate with people.  While one of my kids may remember the textures and shapes of something we are learning about, another might remember the lettering and words, while yet another recalls the most by the writing she did for the assignment.  Plus, it is just down right fun to have a wide variety of options to teach simple or complex subjects with.

We were gifted these amazing Periodic Table of Elements blocks (made by Uncle Goose) and they are SO perfect for using during this study!  We follow Classical Conversations and are on Cycle 3 right now, with the next six weeks devoted to studying the Periodic Table and a bit of the elements.  Of course I couldn’t wait to use these blocks!

For today, we were learning to memorize information about the Atomic Number of an element.  It was a hard sentence for my kids so we made it a game.  They each got blocks and had to yell out the atomic number while the other two found it on the Periodic Table of Elements.  We repeated the Science Grammar (from Classical Conversations Week 13) over and over and over as we played to secretly try and make it stick.  I think it worked pretty well!

Next, they picked out an element with an atomic number lower than 15 in their collection.  We printed out a blank atom template and made our own atom based of the atomic number on the block the child had chosen.  My little comedian ended up with Boron and laughed himself off the chair saying “Boron ya Moron!”.  He can’t help it.  He just can’t.

They were given almonds for the protons and raisins for the electrons and had to figure out how many went in the nucleus and how many went on the electron shell.  After they got it right, we ate our creations and boom: science and snack time in one!  [please note: I do not endorse eating all science creations.  I will not be held liable if you chose to eat a science project that clearly was not edible.]

This amazing placemat is a great reference tool for our studies as well!  At first, the dork in me just bought it because science.  But a year later, a few elements stuck to the front (smuckers is an element right?) and this thing is a gem in our collection!  My Minecraft-minded son loves it for the matching appeal, my daughter loves the colors and my six year old who is obsessed with studying numbers and letters really REALLY closely loves to stare at it, count, label and point at it for hours!

Do you have any great ideas on how to study the Elements/Chemistry with your kids?  I would love to hear it!  Leave a comment and share the wealth!