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ACTIVITY in Introduction, Elements, History, Periodic Table. Last updated March 25, 2020.


In this activity, students will become familiar with the periodic table by creating a skit to explain an element’s symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass.

Grade Level

Middle School, High School

NGSS Alignment

This lab will help prepare your students to meet the following scientific and engineering practices:

  • Scientific and Engineering Practices
    • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information


By the end of this lesson, students should will:

  • Be more familiar with the elements on the periodic table.

Chemistry Topics

This lesson supports students’ understanding of:

  • Periodic table
  • Elements


Teacher Preparation: 10 minutes

Lesson: one class period to present, optional class time for students to prepare


  • Materials vary depending on how much class time is used to prepare skits.


  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • This is an opportunity for students to get creative with the periodic table as they are learning about elements that may be unknown to them. If you give students time to do some research, they may discover elements they are unfamiliar with are used in everyday things, and elements they are familiar with have uses they don’t expect.
  • The “three key pieces of information” they need to include are the element’s chemical symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass. You may want to tell them this explicitly, or have them deduce what is important to share, depending on their level of familiarity with the periodic table. Encourage them to include other interesting pieces of information, such as how and when the element was discovered and by whom, what its name means, what uses the element had historically, how it is used now, etc.
  • Scoring guidelines are provided and can be adjusted to suit your length and content requirements. If you want students to report on more than just the basic identifying information, you may want to include citation requirements as part of the rubric.
  • This activity could easily be adapted to compounds to help students understand what makes up many of the materials they encounter in their lives. Key information to include for those would be the compound’s name, chemical formula, and atomic mass.

For the Student


You have been hired to present information about one element to a local youth group and must include at least three important pieces of information about that element. You will design a skit portraying one of the first 25 elements of the periodic table that includes the element’s identifying information, as well as other fun facts about its discovery and uses.

Why, you ask?

A strong wind came through the window and knocked the periodic table off the wall. The wind was so strong that the periodic table was actually ripped into pieces! The information you provide will allow them to reconstruct their periodic table.
Scoring Guidelines





at least 1 minute

contains correct symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass


at least 45 seconds

contains two of the three pieces of information


at least 30 seconds

contains one of the three pieces of information


shorter than 30 seconds

contains none of the required pieces of information


does not attempt

does not attempt