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Writing Your Name using Chemical Element Symbols (4 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Introduction, Elements, History, Periodic Table, Atoms, Subatomic Particles, Electrons. Last updated February 4, 2019.


Summary

In this activity, students will use their creativity to spell their name (first or middle name and their last name) using chemical symbols of elements on the periodic table.  For example, you can spell Yvonne using the symbols for yttrium (Y), vanadium (V), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), and neon (Ne).

Grade Level

Middle or high school

Objectives

By the end of this activity, students should be able to

  • Understand basic concepts and structure of the Periodic Table of the Elements.
  • Determine the number of protons, neutrons and electrons for an element.
  • Understand that elements are arranged in groups (families) and that the elements in these groups (families) have similar electron configuration and properties.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of

  • The Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Elements
  • Atomic Structure
  • Atoms
  • Subatomic particles
  • Physical and chemical properties

Time

Teacher Preparation: none

Lesson: 2 hours

Materials

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Poster board
  • 8.5 x 11 sheets of copier paper
  • IUPAC Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Computer or Chrome book

Safety

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

Teacher Notes

  • This activity will be completed individually.
  • Students create the list of elements that they will use.
  • Make sure students are using reputable sites when researching the elements (suggestions included on the student handout).
  • Students may work on this project for two class periods (2 hours) and finish the rest for homework.
  • You might have the students present the poster to the class describing the elements that they used to create their names as well as explain the properties and uses of the elements picked.
  • This activity may be used for 3rd–6th grade students just including the elements’ symbol and atomic number.

Cross-Disciplinary Extensions

Connect to Reading
Students will do a large amount of reading as they are researching their project.

Connect to Writing
Students will write a summary of the physical and chemical properties of four of the elements used in the project.

For the Student

Lesson

Objective

In this activity, you will use your creativity to spell your name (first or middle name and your last name) using chemical symbols of elements on the periodic table. For example, you can spell Yvonne using the symbols for yttrium (Y), vanadium (V), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), and neon (Ne).

Materials

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Poster board
  • 8.5 x 11 sheets of copier paper
  • IUPAC Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Computer or Chrome book

Procedure

Your poster must include:

  • The chemical element symbols used to spell your name (first or middle name and last name).
    • If your name has the letter J, use J and the information for Iodine (J was the former symbol for Iodine).
    • If you are only using the first letter of a two-lettered symbol, still include the second letter, but fade the letter so it does not appear that it is used in the spelling (see example at the end of the activity).
  • Box drawings of the symbols as they appear in the IUPAC periodic table of the elements (including atomic number, atomic mass, symbol, and element’s name).
  • The following information for at least four of the elements you use (typed and printed on the copier paper and attached to the bottom of the poster board):
    • Physical description of the element: metal, nonmetal, or metalloid; solid, liquid, or gas at room temperature, or synthetic.
    • Group number and period number where the element is located in the periodic table.
    • Description of the atomic structure of the atoms of the elements: Number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus, and the number of electrons found in the electron cloud.
    • At least two chemical and physical properties of the element.
    • The description of at least two common uses of the element.
    • When was the element discovered and who discovered it.
  • Each element’s box should be at least 5.4 cm wide and 6 cm tall on the poster.
  • The poster should be organized neatly and created in color.
  • Presentation of your poster to the class: The presentation should include saying what elements did you use to spell your name and last name, the element’s properties and the description of at least two common uses of the element for the four elements you picked.

Useful websites

Example

For example, if your name is Yvonne Wilson, you could write it using the elements Y, V, O, N, Ne, W, I, Li (notice that the i from the Li symbol is shaded grey since it is not part of the spelling), S, O, and N. Notice that the sizes and shapes of the boxes are different from the instructions given above, in order to fit the space available below:

File

Rubric

  • Element Name (1 point)
  • Atomic Number (1 point)
  • Atomic Symbol (1 point)
  • Atomic Mass (1 point)
  • Number of protons, number of neutrons, and number of electrons (3 points)
  • Physical descriptions: metal, non-metal, metalloid, density, physical state at room temperature (2 points)
  • Uses (at least 2 common uses) (2 points)
  • Group, period (2 points)
  • At least two chemical or physical properties of the element (2 points)
  • Neatness, spelling, color, creativity (3 points)
  • List of sources of information (books, websites, magazines, etc. (can be pasted to the back of poster (4 points)
  • Year discovered and discoverer (4 points)
  • Your name and date (on back of poster) (4 points)
  • Poster presentation to the class (20 points)