When I was in college learning anatomy and physiology, I spent many hours with colored pencils and books like The Human Anatomy Coloring Book, coloring in detailed images of the muscular system, or the digestive tract. My pencil case was full of pens in all kinds of interesting colors and my study notes were always color coded. Color, much like a specific smell or sound, can help us remember details more completely. When we learn an associative color with a fact, it will be more easily recalled. You can read all about it here, here, or here. I often attribute my recall of facts on tests to my system of color coding when studying! I can absolutely attest to color helping me to not only understand concepts more fully, but to remember them when I needed to.
Recently, I received a copy of Teresa Bondora’s book, The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book, illustrated by Ty Mullery. Knowing the value of color when associated with learning, I was excited to dig into this book and see how I would be able to incorporate it into my 9th grader’s curriculum, especially when, this spring, we will study chemistry.
Teresa has created a coloring book that coincides with the Primary Periodic Table of Elements. For each element, there is a coloring page, and a fact page. The coloring page includes the name of the element, as well as the atomic number, mass and symbol, all written in a wide, outlined font which can be colored in. Simple pictures accompany the words, which correspond to facts about the element. The goal of the book is to encourage kids to color in pictures that are associated with an element, thus solidifying knowledge about the element.
The opposite page is a fact sheet, often including the element’s uses, where it can be found in nature, and the history of the element. The facts can be read to younger kids, or older kids could read them alone. 71 elements are represented, which makes this book large enough for anyone to get plenty of use out of.
When reviewing this book, I considered a few key aspects: Would this book be helpful for older learners, (middle and high schoolers), and would it hold their interest, and add value to a learning experience for them.
So, we colored some pages, to see what could be learned!
I discovered that the information listed on the fact sheet was informative and interesting. It was written in point form, so it was easily digestible. It was also written in simple English, so even a young child could understand, but not so simply that it would lose it’s value to a high school student. While the pictures were simplistic in nature, the straightforwardness of the images made them easy to color, so the task of coloring wasn’t overly time consuming, while still being fun and enjoyable!
To answer my questions above, after reading the fact sheets for many of the elements, and coloring some of the pages, I have decided that the answer to both questions would be YES!
Yes, this book would be helpful to older learners. It is chock-full of valuable information. All the facts are relevant. And I love that Teresa cites her sources, which is so important as I try to teach the importance of citations. Further, this book would hold an older student’s interest, and add value to their learning experience. Coloring is peaceful and relaxing. It is artistic. And it has been proven to help us remember more details through association.
It is important to remember, I think, that this book was created with elementary students in mind. It wasn’t necessarily made for older students. Younger kids would be entertained by the coloring pages, and, with help, could learn from the fact sheets. Older kids might find the coloring sheets a bit simplistic, but still enjoyable to color, and would learn a lot from the fact sheet. Either way, here are some ways I believe this book can be extremely helpful, regardless of the age of your child. This year, I will be working through the first 18 elements with my daughter, so I spent some time appropriately color coding them. I decided on the color based on the fact sheet, or based on the use of the element or where it is often found. I used a Crayola 50 pack, and I chose the colors as follows:
Hydrogen – Slate
Lithium – Gray
Nitrogen – White
Helium – Yellow
Fluorine – Golden Yellow
Argon – Peach
Beryllium – Green
Nitrogen – Lime Green
Boron – Raspberry
Silicon – Red
Carbon – Black
Oxygen – Turquoise
Aluminum – Light Blue
Chlorine – Blue
Phosphorous – Purple
Sodium – Cool Gray
Magnesium – Silver
Sulphur – Mango
Neon – Yellow Orange
We colored in the letters, numbers and symbols with the corresponding color. Then, we used that color as the primary shade for the coloring sheet, and added in some complimentary colors as well, of course. We also used these colors to fill in the blank periodic table, found in the front of the book.
As a complimentary activity to using the coloring book, please use this resource to help you create a 3 to 4 foot periodic table on a wall or poster board. The instructions are included in this free download, just from me to you! Just click the image below and the download should begin immediately.
I believe The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book to be a wonderful introduction to the elements for anyone, at any age to familiarize themselves with this important and relevant piece of science today. You can pick up your copy on Amazon and it is even Prime eligible! If you are looking for an educational, quirky and original gift for a kid in your life, this might be just the perfect thing!
For all kinds of awesome info and ways to learn about science, visit Teresa’s website, HowToTeachScience.com.