Color - symbol - Image
Connect - I attempted this thinking strategy with eighth graders during our chemistry unit. We had previously learned about the structure of an atom and were ready to study the elements in the periodic table. I like to use a lesson called "adopt an element" to have students make connection to an element and a use in their everyday life. I modified this lessons to include "color, symbol, and image."
Extend- For the symbol part, I asked students to use the standard symbol that they would find on the periodic table, which includes the abbreviation, atomic number, and atomic mass. For color, I asked students to come up with a color that is reflective of that symbol. I encourage students to challenge their thinking and not be so literal. For example, most elements are metals, and was hoping that they would not simply use gray or silver for their color. Then I asked students to draw an image reflective of their element. To take their thinking a step further, I asked students to come up with a slogan about their element.
Challenge - I was overall a little disappointed with the results of this lesson. I was expecting students to stretch their thinking and turn in some amazing stuff. Most students chose to be literal with their color choices- grey and silver for metals, "clear" color for gases. The images produced were more literal than I was hoping - like a drawing of a chunk of metal, rather than its applications. There were some students, however, that produced some surprising results. One example, shown above, was exactly what I was looking for. His element is radon, a clear toxic gas. He chose the color red to symbolize danger and drew an image of person with lung cancer. His slogan was spot on too, and it actually rhymed: Radon is a radioactive gas in the fresh air. But be aware in can also cause lung cancer, so be aware. I will use this as an exemplar for future years.