Introducing BS8 To Atoms & Elements From Known To Unknown
Dear fellow Teachers, we should always aim at teaching from "known to unknown," that's what the students know already in their environment, homes, playing grounds and everywhere they find themselves to interact. This is what I always do in an attempt to introduce BS8 to Atoms and Elements for them to comprehend the concept. From my experience as a teacher, and at times some of the complaints I receive from most Basic school students, most of them don't get the clear explanation to the whole concept of Atoms, Elements and Compounds. I think if the basis is good, definitely the whole thing would be good.
In order not to get students confused with the concept of atom, I make the lesson practical by assembling most of the physical objects that are made from atomic particles through chemical reactions. It's interesting to note that students immediate environment, homes are rich enough to contain all these physical objects. You can collect as many as possible, in which you need not to stress yourself buying or struggling to get one. These materials from the students precious knowledge are call matter as they have already learnt in BS7. Some of these physical objects I normally use and as far as this lesson is concerned are*"iron nail, silver plate, spoon, necklace, copper wire, a piece of aluminum sheet for roofing, a piece of iron rod and ear rings. The materials are displayed below:
For the Science Teacher having all these materials at your exposure you are halfway taught the lesson. The rest is to use all these materials you have assemble here to teach effectively to achieve your aim. Step by step, get the students involve in the lesson by asking them to describe the items displayed before them. This can be done by asking 3 or 4 students, but make sure to be gender balance not gender bias. Though the students will try to mention the names of individual objects, but try to draw their attention to what you want from them, that's "matter." After they have referred back their knowledge on matter in BS7 Science, describe to them that, atom is the building block of matter. It's like the blocks use for building houses, they are made up of particles of cement, sand and at times gravels. The picture of a block below:
A collections of blocks are arranged gradually to erect the whole structure of a building. So, in the same way, when you want to know atom more, having these objects displayed here, each of these objects were once particles called "Atoms," which are very difficult to be seen with our naked eyes. But since the were once reacted or joined together to form matter like, this iron nail, silver, copper wire and so on, that's why you can see its volume and mass.
Students having grasped the whole overview of Atom in this way, you can go ahead as Science Teacher to teach the definition of an Atom. Now the students have in mind that atoms are the smallest particles that are built to become matter through chemical reactions. You can therefore help the students to come out with their own definition through brainstorming based on the objects and the numerous descriptions. "An atom is that smallest particle of an element/substance that can take part in a chemical reaction." In this case, let the students come out with some of the examples, with this one those who are sharp enough can guess out the common ones that the teacher has shared with them, like iron, aluminum, copper and silver.
The next concept is "An Element." If the students have gotten the concept of atoms well, elements should be easy for them to understand. Using the scenario of the block displayed above, ask the students to mention the kind of materials contain in the block. Students will for example mention: cement and sand. In that case tell the students that since the block is made up of a mixture of cement and sand, it is not a pure substance, and therefore not an element. An element must made up of only one kind of pure substance. For instance, the iron nail is made up of only iron devoid of any substance, likewise the copper is made up of only one kind of copper and nothing else. So, an element is made up of only one kind of an atom that cannot be split into any other substance by any chemical means. They are pure substance in their nature, and the moment they are mix with other substances they lose their elementary value and become a compound. So for instance, aluminum is an element, and for that matter the moment it mixes with zinc to become aluzinc, then it becomes a compound. Iron rod is an element that contains an element of iron, but the moment it mixes with oxygen and water to form hydrated iron it becomes a compound.
At the basic level, the Science Teacher can Introduce the students to the first twenty elements on the periodic table. Here, the Science Teacher can make the student memorise these through singing with some jagons as I normally teaches my students. Actually I learnt this song to recite the first twenty elements in my element school way back 1998, yet I still recall it and any time I sing I can recite all the first twenty elements. At least as teachers our aim is to accomplish our objectives of the lesson, and your students can believe and accept you by making the lesson interesting and understandable by the students. So, this how the song goes:
So the initials of the words in the song can make students recall and recite the first twenty elements in this way:
With the song, the students find it easy to memorize the first twenty elements without any difficulty. I hope you also find this lesson interesting. Thanks for joining me with this lesson.