Wednesday, May 21, 2008

[TIPS] Chemistry lesson idea

Today, I was showing a Chemistry teacher social bookmarking, specifically delicious. One of the links at the top of the list was this one:

The idea is this: take the periodic table of elements and ask some artists to create new symbols for each element. Their work included woodcuts, silk screens, linotypes and more, and they're very.. artsy. All sorts of colorful images, one for each element.

So what, you ask? Take a look at it first. Then consider this lesson - especially here near the end of the year. You show that table to the students up on the screen. (Interactive whiteboard not necessary) You first see how many elements the kids can identify by their locations on the chart. That should be several, at least. Then you ask them what the connection might be between the drawing and the element. THERE's the rub.

Take Cesium, for example. If YOU were going to create a painting for it, what would it be? Well, after researching you'd discover that Cesium is an incredibly hazardous element that is produced by nuclear (Not, Nucular, GW!) reactions, and was the subject of great concern at the Chernobyl accident. So, this artist chose to draw something like this: Read the text on the right.

So, I think the first lesson would be to see if kids can make the connections of the artwork to the elements. Some are a reach, others not. They may only actually get a couple of them, but the thought process is what counts, right?

Or, what about teaming up with your own art dept for something like this? The tough part will be to get them to come up with unique ideas for the elements first. Drawing them will be the easy part for those art students.

Anyway.. check it out. What do you think?

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