Here’s a great project to try with your students: build a periodic table out of Lego blocks. We did this a few years ago at Spring Arbor University, working with teachers and students from Hardin Valley Academy in Tennessee. After we built our Lego Periodic Table, we used Velcro strips to hang it on a wall on the chemistry floor of the science building on campus.
To build the table, we had to purchase about $750 worth of used Lego blocks, which we bought online. However, it seems to me that a high school chemistry teacher could coax students to donate Lego blocks and creations to build a Lego Periodic Table for their chemistry classrooms. It might take a few years to build, but it sure is worth the effort!
After we built the table, we decided to add representative Lego creations on the square of each element. For example, we placed the Statue of Liberty, Abraham Lincoln holding a penny, and a blue colored jewel on copper’s square:
If you’d like to see pictures of more elements, you can check out the Lego Periodic Table website: http://sites.arbor.edu/legoelements/.
Students and visitors (especially children!) are quite intrigued by the Lego Periodic Table, which has become a wonderful conversation piece and venue for informal chemical education. Whenever I see people inspecting the table, I walk over and ask if they would like a “tour” of the table. I am often able to share quite a bit about chemistry with these onlookers.
I’d be happy to provide help to anyone wishing to build a Lego Periodic Table for their own classroom. Instruction templates for each element’s square can be found here, and you can read more about the table and how it was built here. Be sure to send me pictures of your finished product!