Atoms, ions, carbon – Welcome to Chemistry one-oh-one!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
The table of periodic elements – quite the alphabet soup! Phosphorus is a P, but Potassium is a….K?? I don’t get it! But what if it was…an edible arrangement?
Gregory Watson from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia and team were inspired! They had a delicious idea to help first-year college students learn the basics.
How? By swapping the elements out and replacing them with fruits and nuts! Moving left to right, the table goes from fruity to nutty – say, peaches to walnuts –, mimicking metallic to nonmetallic. As you move down, they get bigger — think grapefruit to watermelon!
The researchers surveyed over two hundred students and monitored exam scores to see if the new table helped.
And? Seventy-five percent of students said it was useful. But the cherry on top? Their test scores increased by fifteen percent! The researchers hope that making chemistry more delectable can make it more memorable.
It’s easy peasy lemon squeezy! Paired with a giant margarita. Just my suggestion.
Reference: Watson, G. S., Green, D. W., & Watson, J. A. (2020). Introducing Students to the Periodic Table Using a Descriptive Approach of Superheroes, Meats, and Fruits and Nuts. Journal of Chemical Education. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c01143