Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
How to remember names of elements and know write right their chemical symbol.
Name of the teacher
Katarína Javorová
Country where it took place
School typology
Lower Secondary School
Thematic Area
Experience typology
Teaching in class
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
I teach gifted children at an 8-year long high school. Some of my students are very skilled at chemistry, but many of them have specific learning and attention difficulties (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dysortografia, dyscalculia). They are hyperactive. For these children there is a problem with the chemistry curriculum in the 8th grade when they are learning names and symbols of chemical elements and chemical compounds of formula names. We begin to do the registration of a chemical reaction using chemical equations. They have trouble remembering the names of chemical elements (for example, they commonly interchange nitrogen and sodium because both elements have the formula beginning with the letter N and also similar scientific names). They have a big problem writing elements and patterns. When writing down the signs of chemical elements they are not case sensitive, everything they write either in upper or lower cases (e.g. CO and co is both cobalt for them). Once a student can not handle reading chemical formula, he or she can not know what the formula means and is not able to handle the challenging 8th grade curriculum. In the subject of chemistry the focus during the 8th grade lays on general and systematic inorganic chemistry at the level of primary education. Names and signs of chemical elements we begin to discover already during the first or second lesson.
For students who have a diagnosis for a learning disability the interpretation of the subject matter should be adapted as well as during the practicing part of the curriculum topic and the following verification of acquired knowledge. Therefore I create different worksheets. The lessons are tuned rather to an air of games and competitions. Some games proved to me and I use them often. For example:
Game 1 – a domino game: “I am an element, who has my sign?” Students have written element sign name and the name of the element on a piece of paper.
Game 2 - assembling the puzzle of the Periodic Table of Elements. I created different versions, PSP blind, in writing form and also as an electronic puzzle ...
Game 3 - students look for as many elements as they know according to the chosen letter of alphabet. They work with the Periodic Table.
Game 4 - Students look for the chemical element signs in their own names (here it does not matter whether in upper or lowercase). When they find all the elements available, they overwrite the names as they are written according to the correctness of the element signs preserving case sensitivity.
Game 5 - students find in the text (using the revised text of the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Handicapped Prince which I have prepared) the names of chemical elements and their transcripts as chemical signs. The pupils either read the texts by themselves or underline the names of elements found or I read the text to them and they record the names of the elements of the paper.
Game 6 - the Bingo game. Students write symbols for selected elements on 3x3 cards. One chosen student calls element names and the other pupils cross out boxes with names that have been said. Who has all crossed out, shouts BINGO and wins the game.
There is even more games that I use during the lessons other than the above mentioned samples. These are examples that got most proven and pupils really enjoy playing them. The students alone create similar tasks that we use as a warm-up in the beginning of our lessons. Through play, pupils tend to easier remember both the signs and names of the chemical elements. They do not perceive it only as a drill and learn them by heart.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.11.22

Posted by Anita Krismane (Latvia)

Very interesting expierence.
I work in similar, shared with students through understanding patterns of element names.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.