Learning the Periodic Table in Middle school or diving deeper into its mechanisms as well as relationships in high school can sometimes be daunting.
In fact, many students really struggle with this.
However in this review of Periodic the Board Game, we’ll show how using an awesome and engaging game can be one of our greatest allies in teaching our children and students.
Most of this Review By: Steve & Rachael Judd. Parents to 5 (12, 10, 7, 5 and 3), homeschoolers and self-declared board game geeks.
PErIODIC quick facts
Thank you Genius Games for sending Board Games for Learning a Review Copy!
Game Title 🎲 PErIODIC
Average Time to Play ⏳ 60 minutes for 2 players + 15/additional player
Subjects or Learning Objectives 📚 PErIDOIC has two elements. One skill element is that of strategic planning and executive planning, the other is an education element directly related to the periodic table which we will cover in objectives.
Executive/Strategic Planning. Executive planning includes planning, prioritizing, and shifting. These are key skills in PErIODIC!
Recommended age: Ages 10+
How we rate the game
The game is visually appealing, has several strategies in play and teaches a big concept like the periodic table in an engaging way. It also comes with a great rule book and educational guide to even introduce the periodic table.
We prefer the game for the 12+ crowd and have found that it takes 1-2 full play through’s to gain a steady pace. Understanding the rules and strategies that gain points can be a slow process at first but quickly gains momentum if everyone at the table is middle grade or older.
The game can be played just for fun and is only truly effective at teaching if the focus is on the different elements (no pun intended!) that are presented through play and not just point achievement.
We like to play with an eye on the tangible products we acquire. The coveted product in our house is Nuclear Control Rods. We may lose out on other points to acquire this card!
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PErIODIC for Chemistry Students to learn and explore at every level
We are playing with children of varying ages (10-12 with the occasional 7 year old) so we have created 3 sets of objectives.
Students will be able to identify and understand basic Periodic Table knowledge.
This objective is mainly for beginners to gain basic familiarity with the Periodic Table. For the youngest players winning the game will be difficult, however, a student will easily gain working knowledge of the periodic table.
This is achieved by speaking the names of the elements out loud, identifying their chemical symbol and learning the broad organization of the periodic table which is easily identified by colors on the game board (ie all Transition Metals are coral).
Students will be able to Identify and Apply Periodic Trends
This is the primary objective for intermediate learners.
There are 3 “types” of trends we are looking for the student to learn. First, understand the atomic numbers. Our desire is for students to understand through play that atomic numbers increase or decrease depending on the number of protons in each element, this is easily visualized but concretely shown through game movement.
Left or right (Atomic Number Change), up to the right (Ionization Energy Increase), down to the left (Atomic Radii Increase), Down to the Right (Atomic Mass Increase) and Up to the Left (Atomic Mass Decrease). Identifying the periodic trend before moving and then testing it out by moving the token is a simple way to gage and clarify a students understanding of Periodic Trends.
Students will be able to differentiate between elements and their trends as well as make judgements to weigh elements against each other in order to win.
For advanced learners, Understanding Families, Blocks and Classifications of Elements becomes more important. To win the game students must engage multiple strategies.
Knowing the table and trends is a start but the end goal here is that the students understand that by combining the elements, our tangible world from Table Salt to Radiotherapy is created. Here we challenge to students not just to win the game from a points standpoint but to end the game with the strongest number of tangible products.
So Table Salt weighs in with 5 points but Highly Toxic Metals weigh in at 9 points. The student who wins the game may have the highest point total (achieved through several strategic methods) but the win goes to the student with collection of the strongest tangible products.
The challenge could also be reversed to the set of weakest tangible products. Here students learn the strength of the elements in the known world.
How to Play Periodic: A Strategic & Scientific Board Game
In the game a player will collect elements to gain “goal cards” that depict common and uncommon items like table salt, limestone and metal vapor lasers. They will do this by selecting the periodic trend that will help them gain the elements they need.
For instance a player may increase their atomic number and increase ionization energy to land on the element they need. This requires planning. In the given amount of moves (1-5) will you increase or decrease and what trend will you need use to reach your goal.
Additionally this will require to player to prioritize the number of moves and may require the player to shift depending on what the other players are doing. There are 4 goal cards that are available at all times so attention to all players is needed.
For students who are working on visual planning, logic and/or strategic skills this is a very helpful life tool. With a 12 year old this skill has translated into life-planning skills when it comes to building a personal schedule and planning out a calendar where we have to choose and balance academics and extracurricular activities.
Game Hint: The Academic Track, which is an additional way to gain points, when used as a strategy can really boost your final point total but is easy to forget about!
If you have space in your homeschool area or classroom this would be a game that could be played in times stages or steps over a couple days or even a week if you are studying the periodic table over a unit.
It’s also just a fun play to see if you can be the smartest scientist at the table!
More ways to make learning the Periodic Table and Chemistry fun!
- Another great game to acclimate students to even finding elements is this Battleship Game by our friend Karyn. Play them on the same day even! It’s a perfect pair.
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