Introduction: Element Practice

The purpose of this project is to have students practice identifying elements based on their atomic info, calculate neutrons, and draw the element with electron shells.
Students will work in pairs to design and code their boards.


2 pieces of card stock per group
Double sided tape
Transparent or masking tape
MakeyMakey kit with jump wires
Aluminum foil
Cardboard pizza box or cereal box (cardboard needs to be slightly larger than paper)

Step 1: Research

Students research the following elements.
Hydrogen, Helium, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Sodium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Sulfur, Chlorine, Potassium, Calcium, Titanium, Iron, Cobalt, Nickel, Krypton.

Their research should include atomic number, mass uses, date of discovery, discovery location, who discovered it, number of energy shells, natural state, and origin of name.

Students will record their research in their student science journal to use when they create their poster and in the activity.

Step 2: Element Poster

Place element names on folded pieces of paper and place in an open container or hat. Have students pair up and then come to the hat to draw an element.
Students will then work with their partner to create an infographic of their element. They will need to identify 5 places in which they will create a switch for the atomic number, atomic mass, and 3 uses.

The poster can not have the name of the element or symbol. Poster should be filled with color and have no more than 5% white space.

Step 3: Aluminum Leads

Cut the aluminum foil into 2 x 18 in strips.

Fold strips length wise in half so that the strip is 18 inches by 1 inch.

Repeat until the strip is 1/2 by 18 inches long.

You will need 4 of these. Two for this step and the other two will be needed in the following steps.

Place the two of the leads on the back so that they intersect in the middle. Tape the intersection down to the cardboard.

Flip the board over. Fold the remaining ends over to the front. Tape the lead near the edge of the board and at the very end so that you do not interfere with the conductivity of the lead. IMPORTANT—The top lead will be just 1 inch with the bottom being 2.25 inches.

Step 4: Extra Leads

Take the remaining two aluminum leads and cut them into 4 equal parts (about 4.5 inches each)

Place one lead across the bottom three leads as seen in the picture. The other leads will be used for switches.

Step 5: Switches Part 1

On the second piece of paper measure and mark two 2 inch by 4 inch strips then mark three 1 inch by 4 inch strips.

Cut the strips out

Fold each strip in half so that you have 2 in by 2 in and 1 inch by 2 inch

Center aluminum lead to the strip. 1 inch of the aluminum should be over the fold with the remaining folded so that end is inside the flap.

Repeat for all switch strips.

Step 6: Poster

Cut out the location of each of the leads on the poster. The rectangles are 1/2 in long by 1/4 in wide. Using double sided tape, tape the poster so that the openings are over the leads.

Step 7: Switches Part 2

Tape the switches to the board so that the long lead is on the exterior and the small end of the lead touches the lead behind the poster cut out. Repeat for all leads. Tape in place on the back side of the poster.

Step 8: Connecting MakeyMakey

You will use the backside of the MakeyMakey to connect the board.

Place the 5 white jump wires in W, A, S, D, F slots on the back of the MakeyMakey. Place a sixth jump wire so that it fits into an Earth location as seen in the picture.

Tape the MakeyMakey to the back of the cardboard.

Step 9: Connect Alligator Clips

On the back of the paper flap switches write one of the following letters: W, A, S, D, F. Next connect the alligator wires to each white jump wire. Then connect the corresponding alligator clip to the matching switch paper identified with the corresponding letter.

Finally, connect the Earth jump wire to the lead at the top to ground the board.

Step 10: Scratch Code

Open a new Scratch project at If you do not have an account, you will need to create one. It is free.

You will use the event block "when (space) key pressed" and "play sound(meow) until done.

You will need to create 5 codes, one for each switch.

You will change each event code from space to the corresponding letters of W A S D F.

Next, you will need to change the sound from meow to your recording of the information. Watch the video to walk you through the steps. Please pause and rewind as you need.

Step 11: Plug in MakeyMakey

Connect your MakeyMakey to your computer using the red usb cable. Make sure Scratch is open to your project and press the green flag.

Press each switch to ensure it is working.