The Ultimate Guide to Teaching the Elements of the Periodic Table

Are you looking for some hands-on, engaging activities for teaching the elements of the periodic table?

With the right activities, you can make learning about the elements fun and interactive for your students. This guide has everything you need to create exciting and memorable lessons about the periodic table.

In this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite activities for introducing elements of the periodic table.

elements of the periodic table activities
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1. Elements of the Periodic Table Bell Ringers

compounds and elements bell ringer for  periodic table of the elements practice

Bell ringers are the best kept secret to classroom management!

You can review content and set classroom routines in just 5 minutes a day!

Every day my students have a bell ringer (which I like to call Science Starter) to work on when they come into the classroom.

These science starters are perfect for so many reasons!

  • Provide structure and routine for students
  • I can formatively assess students and see exactly where they are in their learning
  • Bell ringers give me time to take attendance and greet students in the morning!

This set of editable atom, element, and compound bell ringers is the perfect activity to kick off your lessons, spiral review, or to use for end of year test prep!

2. Meet the Elements Video

My students love the catchy song and video, “Meet the Elements” from They Might Be Giants! It explains how everyday elements combine to form compounds.

There are several free worksheets online. I like this worksheet from the Science Spot for students to fill out as they watch the video.

3. Element License Plate Activity

This element activity is a great way to practice writing element symbols.

The element license plate activity is perfect for student to practice writing element symbols correctly!

Why? It’s a fun and interactive way to reinforce the rule that the first letter of the symbol is always capitalized and the second letter (if there is one), is always lowercase.

This year, my students really got into this easy periodic table of elements license plate activity – bonus, it made a great classroom display!

Element License Plate Activity Directions:

  1. Cut a standard sheet of paper in half length wise, so that it resembles the shape of a license plate.
  2. Instruct students to write their name (first or last) using the periodic table of the elements to create a vanity license plate.
  3. If the symbol has an extra letter that is not needed, in the name, students write it lightly with a dotted line around the outside of the letter. This way the element symbol is correctly represented, but doesn’t take away from the name.
  4. We quickly found out that J does not exist on the periodic table. In this case some students chose to use a different part of their name, or represented the J through a dotted (invisible) line.

4. Element Research Cube

Creating an element research cube is a great hands-on activity for students to dive deeper into the characteristics of elements.

This no-prep element research activity includes editable graphic organizers and a rubric so you can customize learning based on the needs of your students.

Dive deeper into an understanding of elements with this element research cube activity.

In this activity, students will learn about:

  • Element history
  • Physical and chemical properties
  • Periodic table information
  • Structure of the atom (protons, neutrons, electrons)
  • How it’s used

When finished, these cubes are great to display in the classroom.

5. Periodic Table of the Elements Scavenger Hunt

The element scavenger hunt is a great activity to get students up and moving to practice answering questions about the elements and their properties!

Elements and the periodic table scavenger hunt is fun and interactive.

Here’s what Christine T said about this activity:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐My students absolutely loved this activity. It accomplished practice using the periodic table in a very active way. Students worked together moving around the room figuring out the answers to the questions. I appreciated the attention to detail (no typos, spelling errors, etc.) and I will definitely look for more resources by this creator. Thank you!

6. Abundant Elements on Earth Booklet

If you teach Earth’s abundant elements, this booklet will save you hours of planning!

Students will love this interactive activity for teaching abundant elements on Earth.

In this activity, students will create a foldable booklet and then make predictions about the most abundant elements on Earth, it’s crust, the oceans, and the atmosphere.

Then students will read and learn about each topic and create graphs to show the distribution of the elements.

7. Abundant Elements on Earth Escape Room

This quick-prep abundant elements escape room activity is perfect for introducing abundant elements on Earth including oceans, Earth’s atmosphere, Earth’s crust, and living things.

Because this escape room is based on reading comprehension or a 2 page passage, there is NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE needed!

The best part is that the prep is SO easy!

Teacher prep includes copying the cards and printing student recording sheets. No envelopes to stuff, no color printing, no fancy cutting!

Need an all in one resource to teach students about elements of the periodic table, compounds, chemical formulas, and reactions?

This no-prep resource will save you HOURS of planning time.

Here’s a list of some of the time-saving features you’ll find included:

  • Presentation in Google Slides and PowerPoint
  • 25 minute video presentation – great for subs, absent students, and distance learning
  • Notes, practice worksheets, and answer keys
  • Link to Quizizz game aligned to unit
  • Google Form assessment
  • Word wall vocabulary
  • Simple chemical reaction lab

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