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  • Curriculum/Syllabus Area:
  • Lesson Title: Atom/Periodic
  • Lesson No: 60 min


The pupils will:

  • Be able to describe and model the structure of the atom in terms of nucleus, protons, neutrons and electrons; comparing mass and charge of protons, neutrons and electrons.
  • Be able to use the Periodic Table

Introduction Activity


Code Breaker

Students use the periodic table to decode sentences.

1. This will assess prior knowledge of using a periodic table.

2. Will be used to split the students into 4-6 small groups. Students will move in a space in the room which corresponds to their code.


  • Students use the periodic table to figure out the ‘Letters’ that corresponds
    to the elements on the periodic table.
  • Each code corresponds to a phrase.
  • When the student constructs their phrase they will arrange themselves in a space in the room with all the other people who had the same phrase.

Concept Cartoon:

Used to promote a group discussion, identify prior knowledge and assess

Teacher can link in references to Atoms in popular culture e.g. Big Bang Theory, Antman. Ask students where they have the heard the term before? Teacher and students share relevant references and stories.

See Creative Technique 34. Storytelling


Development Activity



Introduce / Recap the atomic structure labels and how to draw atoms.

Each group will be asked to draw 2-3 atoms corresponding to their code.

Bour Model of Neon atom

Bour Model of Helium atom

An example picture or photo to show atom corresponding to code


Human Atoms: Each student will be given one label: Either (a) Proton, (b) Neutron or (c) Electron. Each group will then be asked to physicalise a model of an atom using their group members.
Groups can be asked to compete to see who can do this fastest.


Human Periodic Table: Each student in the class will be given an element (or a clue about an element) and asked to arrange themselves into the correct order as seen on the periodic table. Use as much space in the classroom as needed.


Step by Step:


  • Each student will be given a clue on a piece of paper
  • The student will have to use their knowledge, with the assistance of the
    periodic table, to figure out what element the clue represents.
  • The students, now all knowing what element they have, will stand up and
    arrange themselves in a grid to represent the correct order of elements in
    the periodic table.


Adaptions for different student ability


1. No talking while arranging themselves in order.


2. Arrange themselves in alphabetical order


3. Use the name of the elements and not clues, if you want to make it easier


See Creative Technique 18. Mapping Out


Consolidation of Learning


Wrap – Up Worksheet: Electron Configuration Review Sheet.

  • Used to access the students understanding of the material covered in this


Ask one exam style question for the students to consolidate the students’
understanding of the creative and theoretical learning


Next lesson:
Teacher can open next lesson with periodic table arrangement game, and can
use it for introducing elements, compounds and mixture or chemical bonding by
getting the students to pair up together with another element that they think
they could bind to.

For example you might see the students holding Sodium (Na) and Chlorine (Cl) join up and say that they are Salt, or the students holding Carbon and Oxygen joining up to form Carbon Dioxide.

See Creative Technique 18. Mapping Out 

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