If you want to do this sort of project these are things to keep in mind:
- Give students plenty of time to plan the project, shop for materials (parents don't like last minute requests) and to make the items that need to be made ahead of time (cupcakes/fondant icing). We have used a full period to plan it two weeks in advance. This gives you plenty of time to send a notice home, and plenty of time for parents and kids to shop and make things.
- This year, it took a little longer to build the table. I underestimated the difference in construction time that 4 fewer students would make--keep that in mind when you're doing this sort of project in your classroom. I use our 90 minute block period for table construction (with the cupcakes and fondant icing already made). Last year, with 11 students we finished it with time to take pictures and clean up. This year, with 8, it took two hours, PLUS clean up time. If you have a group of 20 students, with good planning you should be able to get it done in one class period.
- Make sure you have one copy of the periodic table per student. If you want the names of the "newest" elements, check online. Unununium has a new name now, and so do a few of the others! Mendelevium, Livermorium and Copernicium are a few.
- I suggest doing this project towards the end of a unit on the periodic table. A great way to introduce the periodic table is by explaining why Dmitri Mendeleev's creation was so extraordinary...use this TED-Ed Video to start it off right!