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National Periodic Table Day: Celebrating a “Window on the Universe”

National Periodic Table Day: Celebrating a “Window on the Universe”

For many, this Monday, February 7, passed by without a second thought. But here at hBARSCI, we geared up to celebrate one of our favorite nonstandard holidays: National Periodic Table Day! 

Why Celebrate the Periodic Table?

It’s undeniable that the periodic table is one of the most recognizable icons that can decorate the science classroom. A version hangs on the wall of nearly every laboratory, science classroom, and lecture hall in the world. The importance of its development is paramount to the growth of the field of chemistry—and all its subfields.

In fact, acknowledgment of its profound impact on our world has led to not only a national day of celebration but an entire year. 2019 was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT), marking 150 years since Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev created the framework that became the modern periodic table. In a post marking the celebration, UNESCO wrote, “The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is more than just a guide or catalogue of the entire known atoms in the universe; it is essentially a window on the universe, helping to expand our understanding of the world around us.”

As such, the periodic table reflects over two centuries of growth in the understanding of the chemical and physical properties of the elements, with major contributions made by several scientists over that time. The modern periodic table arranges the elements by their atomic numbers (the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom) and periodic properties and, before all elements were discovered, was even used to predict the properties of undiscovered elements long before the concept of the atomic number was developed.

Ways to Celebrate

Don’t let the opportunity slip by to celebrate this worthy national day. Many activities disguised as games can be turned into fun learning opportunities. Test your knowledge of the periodic table with periodic table trivia (like this and this!) or by challenging your friends or students to name the elements.

We all know how popular it’s become to use the letters of the elements on the periodic table to spell words, so why not play a periodic table Scrabble-like game! Grab a pen and paper and put a periodic table chart in the middle. Come up with proper English language words out of the symbols of elements and write them down. Whoever ends up with the most points wins the game. Score each word by adding up the atomic numbers of each element used in the word. For example, the word “CaSe” uses elements only and adds 54 points to your score.

Let Us Help!

Let us jumpstart your celebration of the periodic table with a few of our favorites:

Innovating Science Premium Matte Poster

This Innovating Science periodic table poster is used to study the elements and is color coded to help students distinguish between metals, non-metals, and noble gas families as well as differentiate types of metals, solids, liquids, and gasses from synthetic elements. The poster includes the name, symbol, atomic number, weight, mass, and electron configuration of each element for further detail, and is suitable for ages 13 and older.

Periodic Table of Elements Pen

This awesome gift can help jog the memory with its periodic table rolled into the barrel of the pen. The periodic table identifies several features per element, while the back of the periodic table contains useful information such as: Avogadro's number; Faraday's constant; mass of an electron, proton, and neutron; Planck's constant; speed of light; temperature conversions; molarity calculations; and more!

Periodic Table: Nonmetals, Metals, & Metalloids Distance Learning Kit

This chemistry kit introduces students to the process of paper chromatography and the separation of chemical substances. Included in the kit is an activity for performing chromatography. Includes an instruction manual with worksheets, safety data sheets and enough materials for two students or two groups. Students will develop an understanding of the components of a chromatography system as well as why different substances separate and move at different rates within the system. This kit is perfect for remote learning or as a home school laboratory activity.

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