Periodic Table Board Game

periodic table game

Happy April!

This week I am on spring break. Before spring break, my honors and regular Chemistry 1 classes made it through our third unit called “Periodic Table and Periodicity.” During this unit, we take about 3 days to learn the content and another 3-4 days to practice the content (more for Chemistry 1, less for Honors). One way that I have my students review the content is by playing a board game that I recreated from an NSTA conference a few years ago. In this board game students are instructed to place words on their proper line/location (including names of families/groups and regions of the periodic table) and arrows on yellow dots pointing in the direction that that periodic trend increases (trends include: Electronegativity, Ionization Energy, and Atomic Size/Radius). Feel free to create additional periodic trend arrows depending on what you’ve covered in class.

In October 2012 I attended the Regional NSTA Conference in Louisville, KY. At this conference I attended a workshop about the inclusion of games in instruction that was presented by graduate students in the CISER program (Center for the Integration of STEM Education & Research) at Texas Tech University. Since then, I have included this game in each semester – and each semester I typically post a few photos of the game being played on Twitter. In doing so, I’ve received positive feedback from the students and my colleagues on Twitter. After being approached by an educator across the globe about this game recently, I decided to post about it on here to share it with a larger audience.

I will say that most of my students this semester really enjoyed playing the game. The enjoyment factor depended on the class period – one class period did really well and were “caught” strategizing between rounds to ensure that they knew each component of the periodic table well. Another class period seemed to play out of necessity but did not enjoy it as much nor did they recognize the benefit of the activity as a means for reviewing and practicing the new content.


Along with this blog post, I have provided links to the pdf with instructions and a jpeg of the game board that can be printed in color in most sizes. When I taught in Indianapolis, IN, I had boards that measured 24” x 30” glued onto poster boards for structural rigidity. Last year I remade the game and printed it in color at school on 11” x 17” paper. These boards were then glued onto construction paper and laminated. As far as the game pieces are concerned, you may have to play around with the pieces in the pdf. I ended up remaking mine on a PowerPoint slide when I couldn’t find my copy of the pdf. Otherwise, print out the pieces from the pdf. You may have to adjust the size of the print out and match it up to your game board to ensure a proper fit like I did.

Enjoy playing this game like my students have so far. Let me know if you have any questions!

Periodic Table Board Game Instructions (pdf)

Periodic Table Board Game Image (jpg)