Many of you will likely remember playing the tabletop game Battleship as a kid. Karyn Tripp, who runs the homeschooling education site, Teach Beside Me,
used the basic format of the classic game to create a teaching aid for
the Periodic Table of Elements. Here’s Karyn explaining how to make the
game and how to play it:
How to Make a Periodic Table Battleship Game
To make the game, print out 4 copies of the Periodic Table.
I like the colored ones, but it isn’t necessary. I found a great one
from Science Notes. Then, along the left side of the table, I labeled
the rows alphabetically. They already have row numbers. I laminated mine
to make it re-usable. We used two file folders and hooked them together
at the top with a jumbo paperclip. Attach two of the periodic tables in
with that paper clip as well. Then lay the other two periodic tables
down on the table in the folder.
How to Play Periodic Table Battleship
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. They can
continue playing until one person sinks all of another person’s ships.
Karyn has gotten an enthusiastic response to her idea, but commenters
who are chemistry teachers have taken exception to the alphabetical
lettering of the rows and have made suggestions such as the following:
I am a chemistry teacher. Neat Idea, but please don’t use
letters on the side. The Periodic Table is numbered on the rows, too.
Just put those numbers (1,2,3,4, etc) if they are not there, remembering
that the bottom two rows are actually embedded in rows 5 and 6 where
the arrows pull them down to spread them out. The numbers at the top
should be 1A, 2A, 1B, 3B, etc. To get your students to learn the
periodic table, don’t just sink ships, eliminate groups. Have students
select one element in each group (they are labelled by color on the PT
itself). Students can call them by element symbol to start but they can
also use location “2-1A” or atomic number or mass number. If you get a
more sophisticated PT, it will have the melting point and a lot of other
properties as well.
You can see Karyn’s original post here, and if you’re a homeschooling parent, be sure to check out some of her other teaching materials and aids.