This February marks 150 years since Dmitri Mendeleev created the original Periodic Table of the Elements. There were approximately 60 elements at the time and Mendeleev organized the table according to atomic weight. Now this staple of chemistry can be found in classrooms all over the world. Today’s table has grown considerably and includes 118 elements that are arranged according to their atomic number.
While many of us learned the elements through tedious memorization of numbers and symbols, students in Shyamala Alapati’s science class are enjoying a more creative approach to learning this classic. “Memes are very popular with eighth graders,” says Alapati. With that in mind, she asked her students to tap into popular culture and their creative side to create memes featuring the elements. The students did not disappoint.
While students had fun creating the memes, Alapati says there was a serious side to the lesson as well. On the back of each meme, students had to list the element’s atomic number and mass. They were also asked to share five featured aspects or uses for their element. To complete the lesson, students presented their findings to their classmates.
Another stroke of elemental genius is the Episcopal Periodic Table of Elements Plaza. When designing the new Academic Commons, a facility dedicated to innovation in science and math, the team wanted to expand the building’s footprint. Now students and visitors to the Academic Commons are welcomed by a plaza-size periodic table that heralds the learning that takes place within. That learning extends outdoors where students of all ages use the plaza to study the elements and make discoveries. In fact, this spring Alapati’s students will use the plaza table as they learn more about chemical bonds and reactions.
Episcopal donors have eagerly embraced the Periodic Table of Elements naming opportunities. As of February 14, there are only 19 elements remaining.
It’s the periodic table’s birthday and you can’t think of a thing to buy. Np (Neptunium, or in this case, no problem.) Reserve one of the last remaining elements before they’re gone! You could even create your own meme. Below are the elements still available.