- University of Virginia
- Physics Department
A Physical Science Activity
- Observe the elements provided to you and, as a group, discuss some of the
properties you see. You should include things like the state of matter, shape,
size, texture, color (and any other additions your teacher gives you) in your
- When all group members agree on a property, a group member should write
this property on the index card under the element name.
- Continue with this process until you have written down all the properties
they can come up with for all of the sample elements you have.
- When you have completed all of the elements, you should arrange the index
cards so that the ones with similar properties are in a pile.
Students pretend to have discovered an element which they name
after themselves (or some other creative name of their choice). They
write up a description of the element including properties and a
picture. The students will pair up and trade their element
descriptions with each other. The students will then have to place
the description they receive in the correct region on a blank
periodic table. The students could also make these descriptions into
posters to put around the room or brochures to advertise their newly
Students with Special Needs
Each student should be able to participate in this activity in
some capacity. If they are not able to write or color well, some
adaptations may need to be made for color-coding the periodic table.
- A quick assessment during the class period could simply be to
ask various students to name elements that are metals, non-metals,
or metalloids based on their placement on the periodic table.
- Another quick assessment during the period could be to have
students list various properties of elements based on their
placement on the periodic table.
- An assessment at the end of the section could be a test that
would have the students color-code a periodic table and then
answer questions about specific elements using that periodic
table. Example questions could include things like "Is carbon a
metal, non-metal, or semi-metal?" "Is iron shiny?" "Does oxygen
conduct heat well?"