104 Days of Summer Vacation: Elements

Elements are all around us and they can be found in us and within us.  I’ve come across a couple of really good books that are part of the family library now; The Elements: A visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray, and Finding Your Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Sir Ken Robinson.

1. Listen To The Song By Tom Lerey About The Elements

Theodore Gray added his visual images from his book to go with the song.  The first part of the video is a short description of what elements are. Try singing along with this song, it is rather fast.

Image from Grace Dow Library

2. Read A Book About Elements

The Elements: A visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.  Gray has spent seven years collecting a variety of elements and put them together in a book with stories behind each element.  This book is must for everybody.  This would be a great trade book for classrooms.  The images are big and front and center for each element.  There are also really cool flash cards that go along with book that are sold separately.

3. Visit A Website About Elements

Theodore Gray has a website that is student, teacher, and scientists called Periodictable.com. What I like about his site is that he gives permission for students to use his images.  This is a quote from his website, “I am happy for students to use images and facts found here in school reports, and if they ask for permission I will always respond positively. (Commercial use is of course subject to a license fee, but students and teachers are free to use anything they like in class as long as proper attribution is given to periodictable.com)” (http://perodictable.com).

4. Create Your Own Visual Periodic Table

Random Elements

This would be a great way for students to visualize elements that they are writing about for Chemistry class.  Also, by writing three associations for an element, students are making a further connection for remembering that element.  My daughter (8) liked the potassium element because we drew a banana on the front. This project is a lot of work but the results are a lot of fun.

Step 1: Cut 118 index cards to be 3” x 3”; one for each element.

Step 2: Write the atomic symbol for the element in the left corner, the atomic number in the right corner and under that the atomic weight, at the bottom in the middle the name of the element.

Step 3: Draw a picture that will remind you of what that element is or a use for the element.

Step 4: Color the background of certain elements into their own color category.  For example, element 3, 11, 19, 37, 55, and 87 would also have the same background color because they belong together.

Step 5: Write three facts that you want to remember about that particular element.  For example, Hydrogen:

1. It is a gas.

2. It is the 1st element.

3. It is the lightest element.

Step 6:Put together you periodic table or review with them.

5. Read About Your Element

Image from the Grace Dow Library

I recently read a book called Finding Your Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Sir Ken Robinson.  This is an amazing book about finding where you passion whether it’s art, math, acting, athletic sports.  A quote that I think sums this up is from page 8 of his book, “The Element is a different way of defining your potential. It manifests itself differently in every person, but the components of the Element are universal” (Robinson). I have found my Element and that is teaching art.  For me teaching art is like breathing.  I think I would die if I couldn’t teach art.  There are a few other areas where I have passion: painting, gardening, scrapbooks, books, and ice skating.  Now, I may like ice skating, but I am really bad it, but it is fun!  I like to garden, have a natural talent for it.  Only problem is that I am allergic to touching plants.  I break out into spots.  I love to scrapbook; which I bring in with my kindergarten students every year.  I disappear into painting and come out a few hours later like no time has been spent.  I have sold a couple of paintings; however, not enough to pay the bills.  I love books and reading, probably why I am obtaining my masters as a reading specialist. Now, teaching art is where I have fun every day teaching.  I probably work 60-70 hours a week during the school year, just so my students can have all they need to be successful and have a positive experience with art. Several of my students now want to be art teachers when they grow up or go to Art College.

6. Watch A Video By Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson and I

I recently went to see him speak.  Needless to say, I was totally excited!  He signed my book.  Yea!I included a video about Sir Ken Robinson speaking on his book and The Element.  The Element is, “Where Natural Talent Meets Passion” (Sir Ken Robinson).The first 28 minutes is Robinson speaking than then the last 10 minutes are a question and answer period.

There are other wonderful videos out there of Sir Ken Robinson; that is for a blog another day. A question for you reader; what is your element?  Please comment and let me know. -Mrs. Berry


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