Sunday, October 23, 2011

Teaching the Elements to Elementary Students

Some elementary schools don't start science until 4th grade.

No science until the child is 9 or 10 years old.

Not in MY elementary school.

In MY elementary school, we do science. We do all kinds of hardcore science.

What can I say, I'm a science junkie.

This year, I decided to "do" science from the micro to the macro. From the small to the large. Naturally, we started with atoms.

Then we moved up from atoms to elements. (Elements are the smallest amount of a substance, like gold or oxygen. Atoms are the smallest part of each element. Picky, ain't it?)

Next we were to start cells and then the human body, so I decided to try and segue the two topics. (Not realizing that I would stick electricity and circuits in between the two.)

After tracing and cutting out the shape of each child's body and taping it to the wall,

I showed the kids what elements made up the human body. They were to find the elements out of a pile of symbols, label the atomic number on each element (how many protons are in each atom)...

...and then glue the elements onto their bodies in decreasing order of prevalence.

Did you know we have nine different elements in our bodies? In an average size adult, there are 97 pounds of oxygen, 15 lbs of hydrogen, 4.5 lbs of nitrogen, 1.3 lbs of phosphorous, 0.50 lbs of potassium, 0.50 lbs of sulfur (pe-ew!), 0.25 lbs of sodium, 0.25 lbs of chlorine, and 0.06 lbs of magnesium.

Phew! We're full of it.

Paige is detailed oriented, kinda like her mama, and decided to go back and add how many pounds of each are in the human body and also the atomic weight of each element.

Instead of being done with school for the day, she did extra work.

That's my girl!

Now go out and play. Mama needs a break.