Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: The Periodic Table: Elements with Style!

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The periodic table??? Are you kidding me?  I never in a million years would have told someone I thought the periodic table could  be interesting, much less FUN!  The Periodic Table, Elements with Style! created by Basher and written by Adrian Dingle does the impossible, it makes you want to keep flipping through the pages to learn more about the different characters in the periodic table.
The book opens with a colorfully illustrated periodic table which is SO much more appealing than the standard, extremely drab periodic table, see for yourself!

Standard Periodic Table:

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(Image courtesy of: http://www.bpc.edu)

Each element has its own personal style, personality, and first person explanation of their properties.  The colorful illustrations and unique approach make each element identifiable and memorable in a way that could never be accomplished in a traditional approach.

Curriculum Connections
According to the SOL’s students won’t really start focusing on the elements at this level until 5th grade and therefore this would be an excellent addition to the lessons surrounding SOL 5.4 which covers key concepts about atoms, elements, molecules, and compounds.  However, I believe this would be a great book to have available to younger students even as early as 2nd and 3rd grade.  The illustrations and the easy flow of the first-person narrative would be great for a student who has an advanced interest in science or is simply a little bit ahead of some of their classmates.

Additional Resources

  • For really advanced students, they can try their hand at this Element Hangman.
  • This lesson plan from Instructorweb.com gives instructions for created WANTED posters for a specific element.  This would work well in conjunction with The Periodic Table, Elements with Style! since each element already has a distinct attitude.
  • The Hobby Shop provides a way for students to explore and experiment a little bit on their own.

Book: The Periodic Table, Elements with Style!
Author: Adrian Dingle
Illustrator: Created by Basher
Publisher: Kingfisher
Publication Date: May 23,2007
Pages: 128
Grade Range: 3 -College :)
ISBN: 978-0753460856