What's Your Birthday Element?

We’re following along with Friendly Chemistry this summer so I can review it for the Examiner.  One of the projects we did recently was such a hit I had to share it.

We’re studying elements and the kids are memorizing element names and symbols, plus learning a little bit about them.  One activity that the book suggested was to make up birthday element models.

What’s a birthday element?

It’s the element whose atomic number is the same as your birth date.

Anna’s birthday is January 19, so her element was Potassium (19).

Victoria’s birthday is May 1, so her element was Hydrogen (1).

Their task was to make up visual representations of each element.  Since each element has (generally) the same number of protons, neutrons and electrons as its atomic number, the girls had to research their elements and find 3 types of things to use to make their element.

The protons and neutrons would be in the middle (the nucleus) and the electrons would be in a circle around them.

Anna picked bananas (high in K), purple (items with K in them burn purple) and tin foil pieces (K is technically a very thin metal).

Victoria picked a toy bomb (for the H bomb), a purple crystal (when electrically charged, H glows purple) and a candle (H is highly flammable).

We had so much fun with the project that we looked up all of our birthday elements at dinner that night and then researched the rest of the family’s!

For the record, Daryl is argon, I am boron, Jack is lithium and Alex is zinc.

It got to be even more fun when we looked up our elements on Wikipedia.  Daryl is one of the most inert elements on earth and won’t react with almost any other element.  Daryl is so mellow and tends to get along with everybody that it fit him well.

What are your family’s birthday elements?

Go here to look them up!

(Forgive any scientific errors, formatting errors or general nonsense you come across in this post.  My computer is on its last legs (operating in safe mode as I type this) and I can only see half the screen as I type.  I’m also nauseous and distracted, so I cannot be held accountable for any momentary lacks of intelligence in this post!)  😉


3 thoughts on “What's Your Birthday Element?

  1. The birthday element sounds interesting and fun. I am going to have my girls work on it next week. Thanks for sharing the site.

    Homeschooling my girls in New Mexico since they were born.


  2. I love this idea. We’ve been playing the Periodic Table of Elements game from Ellen McHenry’s site. This would fit right in with what we are doing. Thanks for sharing!


  3. That’s fantastic! We’re enjoying Middleschoolchemistry.com, and this sounds like a fine addition.

    BTW, we’re nitrogen, oxygen, and argon. We’ll see what we can do with those.


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