Here is a great way to introduce the periodic table in an inquiry style and get kids to see that it is based on patterns and trends

To learn how to relate the numbers on the periodic table to the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an inquiry way, Rita H. puts up a table with just enough information for students to see a few possible patterns. the whole class is silent and if a student thinks they can fill in a number, they go to the board and add it until the whole table is completed.

Do an element scavenger hunt- where kids need find examples of elements and bring them in.

Have kids design a game based on the periodic tableif your students come up with good ones consider sharing them with 5th grade classes learning about the periodic table.

A student came up with a way Rita now uses to get kids to remember the trends in Radius and electronegativity-

Two activities on trends-

A version of the lab looking at the flame color of metal salts-

Pam R does a lab on the density of pre and post 1982 pennies to teach the concept of isotopes.
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A comparison of the physical and chemical properties of calcium and magnesium, shows family similarities.

There are several good activities and labs with spectroscopy-

Rita H puts small amounts of metal salts in ethanol and burns them to see color.
Tealia D. shows a video about how fireworks are given their color
Rita uses a braniac video showing the properties of the alkali metals including big explosions when thrown in water.
Have kids take pictures of the sun with diffraction gratings over the lens- Don't look at the Sun!!!
Use wood splints in solution of metal salts (either chloride or nitrate) to have kids test for flame color.