The magnetic periodic table is back! September 30 2014, 0 Comments

We have a few more of the periodic tables with magnetic tiles from InPrint for Children, so I’ve added it to my product listings. I helped design this periodic table several years ago, guided by the principle of “isolate the difficulty.” Each tile has only an atomic symbol and the atomic number that goes with it. The background color of the tiles codes for metals, metalloids, and nonmetals. Hydrogen gets its own color as a reflection of its special role in the universe. With this simplified periodic table, children can see the big patterns of chemical elements before they have to deal more advanced periodic tables with their overwhelmingly busy look. When you look at this periodic table with all the tiles in place, you will likely be struck by the number of metals versus nonmetals. Five of the six main elements of life are nonmetals, and you see that nonmetals are a small fraction of the total elements. Children will also see the state of matter of each element at room temperature from the border around the square where the tile goes. With enough heat, all would be gases. With enough cold, all would be solids, but it would take near absolute zero for that to happen. Children enjoy constructing this periodic table several times, and they learn the location of elements as they do so. They can learn the element names when they refer to the table that comes with this set. The table also shows the origin of each element, whether it was formed by the Big Bang, by cosmic rays, in the center of stars, during supernova explosions, or synthesized in laboratories.

In its present production, this periodic table is printed on a heavy-weight magnet-receptive vinyl. It needs to be mounted on a rigid backing material. Suggestions for backing materials come along with the teacher’s background information. I mounted my own on white board material, and then added a narrow wooden frame to secure the edges. This arrangement has survived several trips to conferences, teacher education programs, and workshops.

Coupled with samples of a few metals, sulfur, carbon, and silicon - safe substances for children to handle, this material is a great way to introduce children to the chemical elements.