In their Concepts in Physical Science class, students in Grade 8 have been researching the periodic table and the various properties of elements, including atomic structure, subatomic particles, and bonding. Inspired by a TikTok post featuring Twitter profiles of historical figures, science teacher Katie O’Connor tasked each student with creating an Instagram profile for an assigned element to conclude the unit.
Students identified the atomic number, atomic mass, state of matter at room temperature, and classification (metal, nonmetal, or metalloid) for their element’s profile. After collecting the scientific data, they brainstormed ideas for a username, profile picture, and caption.
The selected elements received unique usernames and acted as commenters on the Instagram post. To complete the project, students designed their element’s profile using a Google Slides template and presented it to the class, along with information including where and when the element was discovered and one of its common uses.
Connecting a new concept to something familiar drives a deeper level of engagement with the students. “I love hearing them come up with ideas, have fun, and be a little silly. I think they are having a lot of fun and, even though it is academic work, I really appreciate their enthusiasm for the project,” O’Connor said. “I have been so impressed with them, and I definitely will adapt this project to meet the current trends in social media use by my students.”
After all of the students had presented their work, O’Connor had them cut out printed copies of the profiles, which she used to create a periodic table outside of the classroom.