Students may start to ask what matter is made of.
Matter is everywhere. All matter is composed of either single elements or
combinations of elements (compound). An element is a substance that cannot
be broken down into simpler materials by normal chemical methods. It is the
smallest unit into which matter can be divided and still retain its
The purpose of this exercise is to reinforce the idea
that common substances are made of elements or combinations of elements.
- Pass out the Periodic Table Placemats. Display the periodic table
image in the presentation, or use a poster of the periodic table if you
have one. The students will see that there are 109 elements at the
present time. The students should have already heard of some of them.
Elements such as iron in your blood, calcium for strong bones, and
fluorine (fluoride) in your toothpaste are frequently used on television
and radio commercials.
- Discuss how elements are common in our lives. On the board record the
following elements, which students may have heard of , or any other ones
you think they might recognize. Ask the students to find the elements on
the placemats as you are mentioning them
O = oxygen (what we breathe)
Au = gold (jewelry)
Ag = silver (jewelry)
Al = aluminum (foil)
Ca = calcium (for strong bones)
Cu = copper (pipes)
Fe = iron (pots and pans)
Na = sodium (salt)
Cl = chlorine (household cleaners)
He = helium (balloons)
F= fluorine (toothpaste)
- Allow the children time to illustrate their favorite element on the
worksheet provided. Ask them to write their special element's atomic