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So there are these little tiny particles called atoms and even though you can't see them, everything in the world is made up of them. And these tiny particles are composed of even smaller particles called electrons, protons, and neutrons. Sometimes the atoms combine with other atoms to form molecules.
For elementary school students, these concepts are pretty difficult to understand. To underscore this and many other scientific principles, Tinc Road fifth-graders recently completed research posters and reports about the elements.
Each student chose an element on the periodic table to research. Each poster had to include features such as atomic number and atomic weight of the element, symbol, number of protons and electrons and neutrons, and a drawn diagram of the subparticles.
“Some students are great with learning from books and other kids are better learning by physically doing things,” said Lynda Daly, fifth grade teacher, about the project. “Here students worked independently and applied what they learned. That leads to better understanding and longer retention.”
Each student also had to research three products that use his or her chosen element and include those on the poster.
"It helps students when they see how the element is used in the real world," said Mrs. Daly. “It makes science concrete and relatable.”
The students have now moved on in the month-long unit to learn about states of matter and chemical reactions.
All the posters completed by the fifth-graders were hung on the walls outside their classrooms.
Photos: top, Izzie Alvarez; above, A.J. Sweeney