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Kids Surprise Parents with Periodic Table Performance

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Khan Lab School students in Independence Level 3 used their free time to learn "The Periodic Table Song" together.

This video shows them surprising their families with the performance at our second Term Exhibition of the year. (They painted those t-shirts themselves, too!)

Since learning the song was a supplemental part of the IL3 curriculum, those who chose to learn it (the whole group!) wrote their goals for learning the lyrics into their Goal Trackers and worked individually on memorizing the words.

"It was everyone's idea together to do it at Exhibition," said Vikram, age 8. "My parents heard me singing it at home, but it was a surprise to hear us at Exhibition. I think the periodic table is one of the most important things in science because it tells you what everything is made of and it tells about the elements."

When asked if learning the periodic table related back to IL3's study of the planets, Vikram said, "Yes. If there was a planet made out of carbon and then it burned off, it would now be a giant diamond."

Avani, age 9, agreed. "Singing the song helped us learn about the planets because we learned what they are made out of..."

"...and now we know all the elements, which will be useful later!" concluded classmate Meghna, also 9.

(This is an example of student-initiated project-based learning at KLS.)

Did you know?

  • The most common elements in the Universe are hydrogen, helium, oxygen, and carbon
  • The elements that form your body, such as carbon, were made in the stars
  • Carbon has the highest melting point of all elements (3500 °C, 6332 °F)
  • The elements found on Earth and Mars are exactly the same
  • You can learn all about the periodic table at Khan Academy – there are also free course guides for AP Chemistry and organic chemistry at

What else did IL3 students learn this term?

Throughout Term 2, Independence Level 3 focused on "Families in Science & Technology": How Does Sense of Family Change Based on Vantage Point?

Students learned about the scale of the universe we live in and explored how our identity and perspective changes as we "zoom in" and "zoom out." They learned about our atomic, solar, stellar, and galaxy families. At the Term 2 Exhibition, students shared models they built to explain lunar, stellar, and planetary dynamics; student-written "whoa" poems; and musical performances meant to inspire awe and appreciation for our universe in their audience (including the surprise Periodic Table Song!).

Students also wrote research papers in English Language Arts with the prompt: Write about a family in nature. They defined "family" in a multitude of ways, including microbes, elements, organs of the human body, wolves, and our solar system.

Learning goals at KLS relate back to our Academic & Character Outcomes (Graduate Profile). Read below for more information about the rubric for Term 2.

Rubric components included...

  1. I will be able to describe the dynamics between the Sun, Earth, and Moon.
  2. I will be able to describe atoms and their relationships to matter and the universe.
  3. I will be able to name the major bodies of the solar system and describe how they formed.
  4. Social Intelligence: I will be able to collaborate effectively and solve problems with my teammates.
  5. Curiosity: I will be able to choose my own topic within a theme and conduct self-directed research.
  6. Inquiry: I will know how to conduct research by finding reliable sources and taking notes.
  7. Managing Complexity: I will be able to redesign a known system to communicate perspective to others.
  8. I will write a poem using imagery to bring different perspectives to life for my audience.
  9. I will memorize and recite a song about the universe for an audience.
  10. I will make an accurate scale model of an infinite or infinitesimal system that communicates a new perspective to my audience.

More about "The Periodic Table Song"

Lyrics by Mitchell Moffit of AsapSCIENCE
Music based on "Can-Can" by Jacques Offenbach
Concept based on "The Elements Song" by Tom Lehrer

There's Hydrogen and Helium
Then Lithium, Beryllium
Boron, Carbon everywhere
Nitrogen all through the air

With Oxygen so you can breathe
And Fluorine for your pretty teeth
Neon to light up the signs
Sodium for salty times

Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon
Phosphorus, then Sulfur, Chlorine and Argon
Potassium, and Calcium so you'll grow strong
Scandium, Titanium, Vanadium and Chromium and Manganese

This is the Periodic Table
Noble gas is stable
Halogens and Alkali react aggressively
Each period will see new outer shells
While electrons are added moving to the right

Iron is the 26th
Then Cobalt, Nickel coins you get
Copper, Zinc and Gallium
Germanium and Arsenic

Selenium and Bromine film
While Krypton helps light up your room
Rubidium and Strontium then Yttrium, Zirconium

Niobium, Molybdenum, Technetium
Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium
Silver-ware then Cadmium and Indium
Tin-cans, Antimony then Tellurium and Iodine and Xenon and then Caesium and...

Barium is 56 and this is where the table splits
Where Lanthanides have just begun
Lanthanum, Cerium and Praseodymium

Neodymium's next to
Promethium, then 62's
Samarium, Europium, Gadolinium and Terbium
Dysprosium, Holmium, Erbium, Thulium
Ytterbium, Lutetium

Hafnium, Tantalum, Tungsten then we're on to
Rhenium, Osmium and Iridium
Platinum, Gold to make you rich till you grow old
Mercury to tell you when it's really cold

Thallium and Lead then Bismuth for your tummy
Polonium, Astatine would not be yummy
Radon, Francium will last a little time
Radium then Actinides at 89

This is the Periodic Table
Noble gas is stable
Halogens and Alkali react aggressively
Each period will see new outer shells
While electrons are added moving to the right

Actinium, Thorium, Protactinium
Uranium, Neptunium, Plutonium
Americium, Curium, Berkelium
Californium, Einsteinium, Fermium
Mendelevium, Nobelium, Lawrencium
Rutherfordium, Dubnium, Seaborgium
Bohrium, Hassium then Meitnerium
Darmstadtium, Roentgenium, Copernicium

Ununtrium, Flerovium
Ununpentium, Livermorium
Ununseptium, Ununoctium
And then we're done!


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