The Pedagoo Xmas party is over for another year, but hopefully the spirit of Xmas sharing will stay with us a while! I chaired the “Literacy for Life” breakout session where we shared ideas and discussed how they could be adapted.
Hexagon Learning Case Study: The Rise of Stalin
The ability to select, prioritise, categorise and link evidence is a valuable skill that students learn in History. It is also highly transferable to other subjects.
Using hexagons is a particularly simple and effective way of developing these skills, as the following case study seeks to demonstrate.
How Stalin was able to emerge as leader of the USSR against apparently overwhelming odds is one of the most intriguing questions which we study at IB Level. In the years that following the Bolshevik Revolution, due to a series of blunders and miscalculations, Stalin had lost the support of the party leadership: so much so that on his deathbed, Lenin dictated a formal ‘Testament’ describing Stalin as a liability who needed to be removed from his post. He was also hated by Lenin’s closest ally, Leon Trotsky, who was widely expected to step into the leadership position after Lenin’s death. Yet just five years later Stalin was undisputed leader of the USSR and Trotsky was in exile.
The story of how Stalin transformed his fortunes so dramatically is a great story revolving around Stalin’s treachery, cunning and downright charm. But the danger of this is that the essays that are then written become mere narrative, storybook accounts which do little more than provide a step-by-step account of the main events between 1924-1929.
The Hexagon Approach
After a study of the events culminating in Stalin emerging as leader of the party, I made a list of factors which could be used to explain why Stalin became dictator of the USSR. I then put these into my Classtools.net Hexagons Generator to create two single-page documents containing a total of 40 hexagons.
Stage 1: Selection and Categorisation
The class was divided into pairs for the activity. Each pair of students was given a copy of the first sheet of hexagons, which they cut up and started to organise on their desks into categories of their choice. This process, involving the categorisation of 25 hexagons, took about 20 minutes. Students were encouraged to come up with no more than five categories overall. They could also choose to leave some of the hexagons to one side if they were considered less important than the others.
We then spent five minutes comparing the different categories that students had identified. Each pair of students took turns to suggest one idea for a category heading until all the ideas had been shared.
Following this, I gave each students a blank sheet of hexagons. The challenge was to identify other factors which could help to explain Stalin’s rise to power and write these directly into the hexagons. After five minutes, each pair of students took it in turns to suggest an idea. If this was a valid (and fresh) idea, then the other students copied it into their pair’s version of the sheet, and the students who shared the idea were each given a sweet (we had a bag of these left over as a result of our ‘Rise of Stalin through sweet-eating’ lesson which had preceded this lesson!). This process was repeated until the students had run out of ideas.
Each pair of students then cut up this new sheet of factors and used them to develop their existing diagrams. In some instances this involved merely adding fresh evidence into existing categories. Sometimes though it involved adding new categories, or amending earlier categories.
Stage 2: Linkage and Prioritisation
By this stage, the students had decided upon the main factors to explain Stalin’s rise to power, organised into key categories. Each of these categories could form the basis of a paragraph in an essay. However, it was still necessary to decide two things.
Firstly, students would need to decide in which order to deal with the points in each paragraph. It would not be enough to simply introduce the category title, then randomly write about each piece of evidence from the hexagons in that group. This is where the hexagons are particularly useful. The six sides mean that factors can be placed alongside each other in various combinations to highlight connections between batches of factors within categories. After students rearranged their factors in this way, they stuck them down onto sugar paper with a glue stick. They could then write the title of each category over each batch of hexagons, and annotate around each group of hexagons to explain why they were arranged in that particulary way.
Secondly, students had to decide how to connect their main categories together to create an overall thread of argument. They did this by drawing arrows between the factors and explaining their connections over them. For example:
“Economic problems in the country > created > Divisions in the party > exploited by > Stalin’s Cunning”
Stage 3: Essay preparation
The final part of the process was to use the completed diagrams as an essay plan. I photographed each of the diagrams and shared them with the students. Their task was to use the diagrams as the basis of their essay on “Why did Stalin become leader of the USSR?”. Each paragraph was to focus on separate categories of hexagons, and the points made in each paragraph should have some logical order and ‘flow’. Moreover, the order of the paragraphs should be dictated by the arrows linking the categories, with the opening sentence of each paragraph after the first one being based on the explanation over each arrow.
Reflections and Conclusions
The ‘Hexagon Approach’ worked very well. It steered students away from a narrative approach and into an analytical frame of mind. It helped them frame categories of analyis, build up their command of the material step-by-step. It provided them with the opporunity to easily change their initial assumptions, connect factors together both within and between categories, and give them a very effective basis of an accomplished written piece.
It is also a very simple approach that can be transferred to other topics and other curriculum subjects. All that is needed is an initial list of factors – contributed either by the teacher or the students – which can then be written into a blank hexagons template or turned into hexagons automatically using my Classtools.net Hexagons Generator. Thereafter, all that is needed is a pair of scissors, some sugar paper and a glue stick. And, ideally, a bag of sweets!
We recently had a finance week at our school and in Primary 6 focussed on bank accounts and budgets. This seemed like a good time to start Class Economy with my class. Class Economy, is an idea that a colleague gave to me a few years ago and I’m sure many other teachers around Scotland and the world have used. In our version, learners are given bank books and each week are ‘paid’ wages, bonuses for class jobs and gain interest on savings. They also have to pay tax, hire their seat and pay fines for late homework and other infringements of class rules. The children check each other’s calculations and sign off on them and roughly once a fortnight the class bank opens (run by them) and they can withdraw cash. In our version, we also have a class shop where they can buy things small items like pencils. This year when I told the children about the project, I also told them about previous businesses other classes had run. They blew me away with how quickly they responded to this. So far they have opened 3 hire businesses, an art shop, one shop and a face painting pop up for Halloween and I was presented with my first contract for a business who want to buy and sublet seats. What strikes me most though is the excitement that can build up and the issues they have to deal with. Some of them are saving and aiming to invest. Some are starting to think about how to stop other people just pinching their best ideas. They are already grappling with questions like: Should everyone in the business get the same share? How do they make their idea unique? How do they promote their business?
Last year, one of the learners in my previous class, ran an event where he auctioned seats for a raffle and the excitement was tangible. Some people were buying seats for huge prices, others waiting for cheaper seats, others still wondering what exactly people were paying for. When I asked the learner, “what exactly are they paying for?” His reply was, “it’s all about creating a buzz.” He then ran a very successful event but had to deal with keeping staff on side and the reactions of others to his success (with help).
Play is often a great way to explore and learn. I am new to this blog and am looking forward to exploring other ideas and approaches that people are using.
This is the video blog detailing my TLC focus and the impact it has had.
Below are the feedback videos that I made:
Below are some photos of the students DIRT. One student is targeted a grade A the other a grade C:
Cross-posted from @Westylish’s blog
Earlier this year I shared the outcomes of approaching a new topic with my S1 class differently. Basically, rather than starting the topic with the title, learning outcomes etc., we started with a discussion which generated questions…
Once we have the students’ questions, we add in the experiences and outcomes and begin to bring together a topic together as a class. They then name the topic. This year it’s called ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Life’ - a fantastic title which I would never have come up with myself. What has really blown me away this year however has been their questions. The following questions are the ones they came up with which we were able to easily align to our experiences and outcomes:
- What species are there?
- Is there life only on Earth? How and why was life on Earth formed?
- How was life on Earth found?
- Why did humans evolve on Earth and not on Mars?
- How did we change from monkeys to humans?
- Could there have been life on Mars because there was water?
- How does life continue every day?
However, for some reason we had a much greater variety of questions this year which left us with the following to answer…
- Why do hammer head sharks have a hammer head?
- What made the countries split up?
- How do natural disasters like volcanoes, earthquakes and tornadoes occur?
- How was the Earth made?
- Could humans survive a meteorite hitting Earth?
- How can animals survive in Chernobyl (Ukraine) and we can’t?
- Where do deadly viruses come from?
- Why were the dinosaurs killed through meteors?
- How do viruses transfer to humans?
- Will there ever be WWIII? What will happen if it does?
- How does gravity work?
- How do volcanoes erupt?
- How far away is space?
- What did space look like before Earth was created?
- How does Earth stay together?
- What will happen if meteors hit the Earth?
- How did the Earth’s core get made?
- What are the planets made from?
- How big are all the planets?
- How was the sun made?
- What did space look like before the big bang?
- Why is there no ozone layer in Australia?
- Is there anything which could destroy Earth?
- What if the hole in the ozone layer gets too big?
Wow! Remember, these students are in S1…which means they’re about 12 years old. Our curriculum will perhaps attempt to answer some of these over the next six years, but not all. How did we answer all these I hear you ask…well they each chose one to research at home and share back to the class as a homework project which they did brilliantly on Friday of last week. Not a perfect solution, but at least they had the chance of exploring at least one of these big questions and hearing from others about their questions too.
This whole process has really made me think…if that’s the questions they are arriving to us with, why is it so hard for us to make the space to answer them? Also, if we make no attempt to try and answer their own amazing questions is it little wonder that many of them eventually switch off to schooling? Imagine instead of being so obsessed with content in S1-3, we instead focused on those skills and attributes which we so wished our students possessed in S4 onwards? I’m not saying knowledge doesn’t matter, but I don’t think everything necessarily needs to be taught to everyone at the same time.
One of my favourite papers contains a much more complex version of the table below. Harris suggests that to get learners to see the purpose in, and even ‘own’, their own learning they need to be collaborators in the learning process:
I love this idea and have been striving to find a way to make it a reality in my classroom for some time now. It really shouldn’t be that hard given that there is significant overlap between this idea and the capacities we are tasked with developing as part of the curriculum.
So, for me there seems to be a contradiction here. If we want our learners to own their own learning and develop the capacities we want them to have, we need to be able to allow them to be collaborators in the learning process. If they are to be collaborators in the learning process then we need to make the space to take their complex and challenging questions seriously as part of their curriculum.
Ultimately, if we want our kids to be switched on we have to somehow find a way of decluttering the curriculum and making the space for it to happen…
Cross-posted from fkelly.co.uk
Well yesterday was an interesting day from both a pedagogy and an understanding point of view. As a trainee it is all new to me so nothing has become boring or old hat yet. I get a feeling of surprise in most lessons at what the children do or don’t get.
Yesterday’s numeracy lesson was Probability and Chance. This is the first time I have attempted to teach any numeracy that did not have any numbers in and also possibly the most rewarding lesson I have taught to date.
Confusion reigned in the classroom – taking such an abstract concept as probability and trying to teach it to a high-achieving, logically minded Year 5 class was a challenge. Could the children understand that we can use probability and chance to predict futures? This posed a challenge to their logical minds. Used to performing calculations with a high degree of difficulty is was a challenge to understand the mathematical principles that underpin probability and chance. Children could agree that there was a chance of certain things happening (roll of a dice, flip of a coin etc) but struggled to see that maths connection with the chances of something happening. This then prompted an impromptu philosophical discussion on the likelihood of certain things happening. Linking this to what the children could already comprehend was paramount – children could understand that there was a sliding scale of chance that events could happen but then could not apply this in a real-life context. In the context of the new National Curriculum this is a vital skill, as we try to enhance the problem-solving skills of our children.
This is where I took a different tack and linked the learning to something we had looked at in the previous literacy lesson. The question then became “What do I want to be when I am older?” By hypothesising about this we were able to look at how we can use mathematical principles to predict futures. The default 10 year old boy answer of “Professional Footballer” could be dissected as we looked at how seemingly random events can change the path we tread. Plodding carefully so as not to crush the dreams of the boys, we were able to look at how we use chance in every day life, from supermarkets stocking their shelves to planners building new towns. Of great humour to the children was the fact that they may live for longer than me!
The real proof of the understanding came in their independent work. Children were able to order events in terms of chance and look at how the chance of one thing happening could then effect the chances of something else. After an initial struggle at the lack of number in the work it was amazing to sit back and watch the discussion unfold.
One interesting topic thrown up was time travel, I may have to invite Prof Cox into school to explain that one although looking at whether you would change age as you travel through time was a rabbit hole that I declined to go down on this occasion…
I have been a primary school teacher for more than 12 years, with the majority of my career being in the one school. I have always been a keen cook myself and take an interest in where food comes from and how it is grown. In my current post I have also been the technologies co-ordinator – part of that role is being responsible for increasing the education of food technologies throughout the school. Throughout the years I have always found that some children’s knowledge of where their food comes from is lacking. For example (taken from a lesson I conducted about healthy eating):
Me: Where do carrots come from?
Pupil: From a tin, Miss
Pupil: My mum gets them from the supermarket
Me: Who likes potatoes?
Pupil: Not me, Miss
Me: Do you like chips?
Pupil: Yes, of course
Me: They are made from potatoes
Pupil: Really, I thought the supermarket made them
Some children are unaware that fruit and vegetables are grown on farms and think that they just appear on the supermarket shelves – and they have no other experience or knowledge to contradict that belief. These children are unlikely to go and visit a farm or farmers’ market, unless it is on a school trip, so will continue to have this belief.
Due to there being less money for trips in school, and also parents can’t afford to subsidise the trips, classes are less likely to be able to go and visit farms etc.
However Tesco have launched their Eat Happy Project, and part of the resource is Farm to Fork Online Field Trips. These field trips are free and a great way for pupils to see how different foods are produced and supplied without leaving the classroom, while still giving them the real-life context of a visit and interacting with the people involved in the process.
The resources and activities before the event allow the children to gain some prior knowledge and background about the food they are learning about, changing any misconceptions about where the food comes from, and as they are already prepared, it isn’t any extra work for the teacher. They are fun activities that build up the children’s enthusiasm for the certain foods. I also created a homework task, where the children researched about the food, so they were also learning facts independently.
The Online Field Trips themselves are interactive, using different methods of technology to keep the children interested and also engaging the children by allowing them to speak to the food producer. They also get to see other schoolchildren from different parts of the country.
The children get to pass round the food being discussed, as Tesco send a delivery to the school, they get to grow their own or make their own and then they get to take the food home, so they can share the experience with their parents and create a recipe.
My class took part in an Online Field Trip to a pasta factory in Naples, Italy. The children loved learning about Italy in the quiz prior to the event and then enjoyed seeing Guiseppe and Sam discussing the production of the different pastas – they were amazed at how many there were! This Online Field Trip was something that the children would never have experienced otherwise, as Scotland isn’t renowned for its pasta-making. The children took pasta and pesto home and we got to make our own fresh pasta as a class, as Tesco had provided us with all the ingredients. One of my pupils even made it with his mum at home from scratch! The children loved the experience of making it, just like Guiseppe!
Prior to the Online Field Trip, we looked at the preparation activities; these fully engaged the children and built on their minimal prior knowledge, as they knew what Giuseppe was talking about when he discussed the different types of pasta.
The pupils loved interacting with Sam the presenter and Giuseppe, seeing the other schools and learning about pasta in such a fun and interactive way. We also took part in an Online Field Trip about mushrooms. The class took the mushrooms home and cooked recipes with them, some even brought back the mushroom dish for the class to taste. We also got sent ‘Grow our own mushroom’ kits.
I’d recommend this great project to any class who wish to learn more about healthy food and where it comes from. It’s free for schools and will ensure the children experience an engaging lesson whilst making great use of technology in the classroom.
Take a look behind the scenes at the Perfect Pasta Online Field Trip
The Eat Happy Project is:
- a cross-curricular resource that fits into the experiences and outcomes of the curriculum and allows for children to gain a greater and more accurate knowledge of where food comes from and how it goes from farm to fork
- fully inclusive for all pupils, whatever their learning abilities are, and can be adapted to different year groups and differentiated where needed
- completely free, so doesn’t cost the pupils, schools or parents anything
- suitable for all learning styles
- a resource that encourages pupils’ interest in food, the health benefits and nutritional values that certain foods have, in a real-life context.
- a resource that allows children to visit places they wouldn’t normally be able to visit, albeit virtually.
- an easy-to-use resource for teachers that doesn’t involve time-consuming preparation time.
There are lots more Online Field Trips coming up in the autumn term:
Honey – 11 September 1.30pm
Sweetcorn – 18 September 1.30pm
Rice – 25 September (time TBC)
Broccoli – 2 October 1.30pm
Pumpkin & squash – 9 October 1.30pm
Baked beans – 6 November 1.30pm
Bread – 13 November 1.30pm
Potatoes – 20 November 1.30pm
Tea – 27 November (time TBC)
Clementines – 4 December 1.30pm
Cheryl Miller, P4/5 Class Teacher at Niddrie Mill Primary School, Edinburgh
I have always felt nervous when speaking in front of groups.
At School, at University, and now even in Lecturer Meetings I have always been a bit worried and unsure when the focus shifts to me and I worry whether or not what I have to say is interesting and/ or correct.
It is unusual that I am a Lecturer now but I love my subject and I love learning so the fact that I am now in a position to help students like me get through their nerves transcends any anxiety I may have. Using educational technology in class has helped me to remove any barriers to learning that my quiet and shy teenage students may encounter when we engage in activities to assess their understanding of a lesson.
Twitter – We use hashtags to discuss topics at the start of every lecture as a starter or plenary to get the learners involved, analysing and debating the topic at hand. Learners are encouraged to tweet in on a tag we make that morning and I curate them as they appear on the screen using Twitterfall or Tweetbeam - by doing this it allows me a chance to ask follow up questions to the contributor once the discussion has begun (alleviating the worry of speaking first in class). We also often have cross college discussions with other students, guest tweeters hosting debates, and industry experts who can guide the learners through a topic to help them build confidence in their digital literacy, critical thinking, and communication skills.
Facebook – Learners can ask questions they may be too embarrassed about asking their Lecturers in front of their classmates on Facebook. We have found that when the students can see key information about the course, share interesting links/ videos and engage with links and materials from the Lecturer they are more likely to expand and consolidate learning outside of the class whilst building up rapport with their peers. Learners reluctant to talk in class can add comments or private message their peers once they have been rounded up in to a group and can use it to gather research, manage projects, and keep one another informed of deadlines whilst print-screening said evidence for their assessments.
Socrative – Learners can join in a gamified quiz on the screen by responding to open-ended or closed questions via their device or computer. This also provides a chance to receive feedback from the Lecturer about right/ wrong answers on screen whilst a report detailing each students individual performance can be analysed afterwards to see if they need further help on a particular topic. Socrative can be a useful starter activity to help you gather evidence of their development at different stages throughout a topic leading up to and including the exam/ final assessment itself. Teams of learners can even go up against each other in the ‘space race’ feature which help galvanize the students in teams as they compete to get the most correct answers quickest/ propel their rocket to the finishing line.
Once the learners gain more confidence you can try these…..
Vine – Create 6 second looping clips on their devices to communicate key information. For example, I ask my students to state an objective for their future self in 90 minutes time that they have to meet in that lesson. At the end of the lesson the learner watches the clip back to review whether it has been met or not.
Instagram - Photographing their work to evidence their process and annotate the pictures with text to encourage reflection and evaluation at each stage of the project. The video feature offers a chance to document mini-vlogs on their work as well in teams or individually.
Podcasts – If the learner is reluctant to appear on camera they can capture evidence of their learning as a discussion using SoundCloud or AudioBoo. You can challenge them to produce something succinct and specific to your criteria within clear parameters (3 mins/use 5 key words each) independently.
Vlogs – Using handycams, webcams, or their device the learners can respond to questions in short clips or, if they are more creative, as News Reports or in comedy sketches to demonstrate their knowledge.
Providing differentiation (learners always have a a vlog/ podcast/ written option where possible) like this gives my less traditionally able learners a real chance of performing and creating evidence of their knowledge.
Sometimes home-life, health, being awkward around the person they fancy in class, or any number of the other external variables that can effect a learners confidence in the classroom can stop them from participating in class.
By opening up and varying the streams of communication between us and our learners we can provide them with more chances to show how much they have learned while simultaneously providing us with more fun and valid conduits for measuring evidence of their progress.
As a teacher, how does this grab you as a challenge? You are to be part of a team working with 30 pupils from the south side of Glasgow? They are identified as being at risk of disengagement, but with the potential to become successful apprentices and good citizens. You must remain true to the principles of Curriculum for Excellence. What might be different for you is that your organisation is ready to wipe the slate with your experience in the classroom. You are going to look at the pedagogies of what works and use them in your practice every day – with only three other colleagues.
“Three?” I hear you ask. Correct. The curriculum will be delivered by four teachers – Science, IT, Maths and English, but also by partner organisations, made up of the private businesses who are not only investing in the venture, but who are guaranteeing apprenticeships to those young people who complete the course and FE colleges which are guaranteeing places for the NJC leavers.
This is the plan for Newlands Junior College, the brainchild of Jim McColl, Scottish entrepreneur. His vision is to take young people who are heading for failure and give them a real prospect of success.
Scotland’s schools are very good. I don’t think that’s in question here. But there is – and always has been – a group of young people who just don’t get a good deal. They are not academically driven, have perhaps a challenging background or a family whose experience of education is entirely negative, but who nonetheless have some kind of talent or ability. They are not heading for university, but exist in a system which is designed to make them feel that the only achievement that really counts is getting in to university. Yet business is crying out for people with good practical skills and the right attitude to work.
These are exactly the people that McColl’s Newlands Junior College appears to be designed to cater for. If only they could be prevented from disengaging, as they often do.
The college has started to engage staff. They will be working in a very special environment, with the best technology and with unrivalled opportunities to develop their pedagogical skills.
Iain White, Principal of the College and former Head Teacher of Govan High, which serves one of the most deprived areas of Scotland, makes no secret of the formula “This will be an organisation built on relationships – there will be no room for messing around, but we intend to be like a family, where – like every family – we will have our moments, but we are all here for the same reason. We will all be motivated towards what we want to achieve together. That togetherness will be based on mutual respect and a mutual understanding of what we are here for.”
And for the young people who, through the selection process, get a place, that achievement will be quite something. With resources available to equip every pupil with a handheld computer, cutting edge IT provision and links with future employers who will not only provide curriculum input, but mentoring relationships and guidance, the prospects for these otherwise potentially-failing pupils are suddenly looking dramatically brighter.
Of course schools try very hard to prevent young people dropping out. But Newlands will have some crucial advantages. It will be able to guarantee the outcomes (apprenticeships and college places for every successful leaver) . Also, it is not school. Whatever Hollywood tells us about inspirational teachers and innovative and ground-breaking approaches to learning, sometimes the problem is simply that school is the wrong place for disenchanted teenagers. Newlands Junior College, based in real place of work, with its top quality adult environment is clearly not a school. So many things are different from the quality of design to the close involvement of students in everything including the preparation of meals. At Newlands, they not only know what works, but (more importantly) for these students they know what doesn’t.
An education for the 21st century has to very different from the classroom of the past. It has to be suited to each individual in a way that is unique and inspiring. It has to connect to adult life and the real world in ways that every student can understand. Every day, every student has to feel valued and believe in the possibility of success.
I look forward to schools and indeed, colleges, of all descriptions providing a wide and varied menu of education, utilising top technology, demanding top professionals and producing top quality graduates upon whom employers can rely, as they have had an input to their education and training. The destinations are guaranteed – not as some kind of social responsibility policy – but as a real engagement between young people, their parents, teachers, employers and trainers. I look forward to more initiatives like this and not only that, but I look forward to them being supported as complementary to the current school system.
Newlands Junior College is still looking for a Science teacher and a Maths teacher, so if you think you might enjoy this kind of opportunity, check out the website and application form here.
My year 10s and I recently waved goodbye to their Core science exams for this year. After much celebration and relief we began to knuckle down to the year 11 topics which we were due to commence in the remaining days before they were to leave for work experience and, finally, the summer.
I was down to teach topic 1 of the Edexcel C2 syllabus during this period. For those who are not acquainted with this syllabus, the topic covers the ideas of atomic structure, electronic configuration and atom diagrams. It is my personal belief, which I’m sure others share also, that chemistry is much easier once the fundamental principles of atomic theory and organisation of the periodic table are second nature to the students. As such, I spent a fair bit of time covering this topic to ensure it was concreted into my students minds.
Teaching the periodic table and helping students understand it’s layout is so paramount to their understanding. However, teaching it can become a very monotonous and laborious task. Therefore, I decided to tackle this in a more game like approach. I had gone over the ideas of the nucleus and it’s structure, and wanted students to apply this to the periodic table and generally familiarise themselves with it. So, we decided to play ‘Periodic Table Battle Ships’.
I simply printed off several copies of the Periodic table, two identical images placed one above another on a piece of A4 paper. Each student had one of these copies for themselves. These were to be turned into our battleship boards.
How To Play:
- Students can place 3 ships: one 5 elements long, one 4 elements long and the final 3 elements long.
- Ships can be placed vertically or horizontally on the top copy of the table
- Students then take it in turns to ask questions about the elements to find where their opponents ships are placed.
- I asked my class to ask questions based on the elements instead of saying “Is it on Sodium?” for example. I asked them to use atomic number, or atomic mass to identify elements. Sometimes, students took it a step further and asked based on the number of neutrons.
Exposing them to the table in this way gave them the chance to identify trends and patterns for themselves as they looked and posed questions.
There are many ways you could change this task. They could pose questions based on properties, first ionisation energy (for A-level), reactivity with certain substances, states at different temperatures. However and whatever you want your students to get from this task, it can be adapted.