The Missing Person (Adapted for inquiry)
Begin by giving each group a set of the cousins. (cut out ahead of time is better, scissors if necessary)
How many ways can you group these people?
# of hairs on head
# of arms
Stripes, polka dots, etc.
Smile, frown, neutral
Fingers on hands
Shape of body
Give each group a copy of the letter.
1234 Some Street
What’s happening? I’m writing because Grandma has a favor to ask of you. She says you are the most artistic and the most organized member of the family. I think she always did like you best. Anyway, here’s the deal.
Grandma has collected pictures of all the grandkids. She wants you to make a collage by arranging the photos in rows from the smallest cousin to the largest cousin. She also said to tell you that kids who belong to the same family are dressed alike. Grandma would like the members of each family arranged in their own vertical column. I hope you will understand what she means when you see the pictures.
By the way, I said she has a picture of everyone. Actually, she is missing a photograph of Cousin Al. Grandma says that with your talent you will be able to sketch what Al looks like because his features are so similar to the cousins who surround him.
Got to go. In a way, I’m glad she does like you best! Good luck, and don’t disappoint her!
After the unit, the activity can be revisited with these questions:
- What did you observe about the physical features of the “cousins” as you arranged their pictures from the smallest to the largest?
- What can the increase in the size of the “cousins” be compared to on the periodic table?
- How does the number of arms each cousin has relate to the number of energy levels that each atom contains? What does the number of arms represent?
- What is the meaning or significance of the number of fingers on each of the hands?
- Compare the number of hairs on the heads of the cousins to valence electrons. How does this observation relate to Mendeleev’s work?
- Why are some cousins smiling while others are frowning? (HINT: some atoms need only to gain or lose one, two, or three electrons to have a full outer energy shell.)