14 January 2016

Using the periodic table to play "Battleship"

Karen Tripp modified the classic "Battleship" game for homeschooling purposes.
She created the game using four laminated copies of the Periodic Table which were labeled alphabetically by row and column, then inserted into two file folders [sheet protectors?] with jumbo paper clips.

“The kids can then mark where they want to place their ships by circling rows of 2, 3, 4, and 5 elements on the lower table.. They play by calling out coordinates. If they miss they put an X on the spot they chose on the upper table. If they get a hit, they circle it.”
Sadly, after coming up with this innovative idea, she then dumbed it down by labeling the rows A through H and the columns 1 through 18, so the children instead of calling out "phosphorus" or "cadmium" or "oxygen" just call out "D-11" or "F-4" or whatever.  An opportunity missed there, I think.


  1. Yes, a teaching opportunity lost. Also strange because if your opponent is having trouble finding an element there is already an established grid system. The periodic table is already arranged this with (fairly) standard names for the rows (periods) and columns (groups).

    1. Groups and periods actually don't make much sense, carbon used to be in the 4th main group and now with the "new" IUPAC nomenclature it's 14, however the number 14 has no chemical significance.
      Also the lowest pink and purple rows are actually inserted into the 6th and 7tg periods, where the pink and purple squares are. The actual periodic table is almost twice as wide as the usual representation of it. It should have 8+10+14 = 32 Groups(columns) and 7 periods.

      The point of the Periodic table is that it is a sequence from 1 to 92 of naturally occurring elements, it's not a system of coordinates. If physicists were to construct elements 120 to 200 or w/e in the lab (and recently they officially added a couple unstable 11x elements), we would have to widen the periodic table yet again following the "coordinates" rabbit whole.

      My solution would be to just use the 7x8 grid of the so called main groups, or use the sequential proton number to paint targets, which in turn defeats the purpose of teaching coordinates.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...