Creating a Collaborative Virtual Periodic Table

Students in Bryan’s 5th grade science classes experienced the excitement of discovery, research, collaboration, and presentation all while learning about every single element in the periodic table. Josie shared that “It was really cool starting with a blank slate. You don't know anything about these elements at first but now I’m an expert on them and you can ask me something about them and I can tell you a bunch of facts.”

Veronika explained the process. “We were each assigned three elements and got to look up a bunch of things about them and then write up a paragraph and design a page about each one.” 

In this interactive presentation you can click on elements on a full periodic table and then go to the pages students created. Bryan explained that the students were active in putting it together. Amelia said, “it was really fun because at the end when everyone was done with everything we got to debug stuff so if we clicked on a link that went to the wrong page, we could put comments in for someone to flx it.” 

After completing their contributions to the periodic table Beckett explained, “we got to present and see the stuff everyone created. One of the fun parts of presenting was trying to pronounce the names of the scientists who discovered each element.”  

Students were eager to share the many discoveries made during their research with comments like: 
  • I didn’t know what arsenic was used for until I got it. 
  • I learned something about phosphorus, it’s used on the end of matches! 
  • Probably none of the class knew about half of the periodic table but now we do. 
  • I never knew that cobalt was on the periodic table. 
  • I learned that one of my elements, gallium, can melt at room temperature. 
  • I learned that scientists think that one of my elements may be around the atmosphere of Jupiter. 

While this is a unit Bryan's students complete each year, this is the first time all 119 elements were researched, written about, and added to the interactive final presentation. The enthusiasm for this project was palpable when students were asked about it, and the curiosity that was piqued may very well lead to future elemental discoveries from these budding scientists.
Located in College Park, MD, Friends Community School is a progressive Quaker K-8 day school, founded on the belief that every child is a valued member of our community. We offer a challenging curriculum imbued with strong values of equality, integrity, community, environmental stewardship, simplicity and peaceful conflict resolution, rooted in our Quaker heritage.
Friends Community School
5901 Westchester Park Drive
College Park, Maryland 20740