Periodic Table Battleship!: A Fun Way To Learn the Elements





Aw, you sunk my bat­tle­ship!

Mil­ton Bradley’s clas­sic board game, Bat­tle­ship, can now be added to the ros­ter of fun, cre­ative ways to com­mit the Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments to mem­o­ry.

Karyn Tripp, a home­school­ing moth­er of four, was inspired by her eldest’s love of sci­ence to cre­ate Peri­od­ic Table Bat­tle­ship. I might sug­gest that the game is of even greater val­ue to those who don’t nat­u­ral­ly grav­i­tate toward the sub­ject.

Faced with the option of learn­ing the ele­ments via show­er cur­tain or cof­fee mug osmo­sis, I think I’d pre­fer to take out an opponent’s sub­ma­rine.

Rules of engage­ment are very sim­i­lar to the orig­i­nal. Rather than call­ing out posi­tions on a grid, play­ers set their tor­pe­does for spe­cif­ic ele­ment names, abbre­vi­a­tions or coor­di­nates. Advanced play­ers might go for the atom­ic num­ber. the lin­go is the same: “hit,” “miss” and—say it with me—“you sunk my bat­tle­ship!

The win­ner is the play­er who wipes out the other’s fleet, though I might toss the los­er a cou­ple of rein­force­ment ves­sels, should he or she demon­strate pass­ing famil­iar­i­ty with var­i­ous met­als, halo­gens, and noble gas­es.

To make your own Peri­od­ic Table Bat­tle­ship set you will need:

4 copies of the Peri­od­ic Table (lam­i­nate them for reuse)

2 file fold­ers

paper clips, tape or glue

2 mark­ers (dry erase mark­ers if play­ing with lam­i­nat­ed tables

To Assem­ble and Play:

As you know, the Peri­od­ic Table is already num­bered along the top. Label each of the four tables’  ver­ti­cal rows alpha­bet­i­cal­ly (to help younger play­ers and those inclined to fruit­less search­ing for the ele­ments des­ig­nat­ed by their oppo­nent)

Fas­ten two Peri­od­ic Tables to each fold­er, fac­ing the same direc­tion.

Uses mark­ers to cir­cle the posi­tion of your ships on the low­er Table:

5 con­sec­u­tive spaces: air­craft car­ri­er

4 con­sec­u­tive spaces: bat­tle­ship

3 con­sec­u­tive spaces: destroy­er or sub­ma­rine

2 con­sec­u­tive spaces: patrol boat

Prop the fold­ers up with books or some oth­er method to pre­vent oppo­nents from sneak­ing peeks at your mar­itime strat­e­gy.

Take turns call­ing out coor­di­nates, ele­ment names, abbre­vi­a­tions or atom­ic num­bers:

When a turn results in a miss, put an X on the cor­re­spond­ing spot on the upper table.

When a turn results in a hit, cir­cle the cor­re­spond­ing spot on the upper table.

Con­tin­ue play until the bat­tle is won.

Repeat until the Table of Ele­ments is mas­tered.

Sup­ple­ment lib­er­al­ly with Tom Lehrer’s Ele­ments song.

Those not inclined toward arts and crafts can pur­chase a pre-made  Peri­od­ic Table Bat­tle­ship set from Tripp’s Etsy shop.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Learn to Write Through a Video Game Inspired by the Roman­tic Poets: Shel­ley, Byron, Keats

Play Mark Twain’s “Mem­o­ry-Builder,” His Game for Remem­ber­ing His­tor­i­cal Facts & Dates

200 Free Kids Edu­ca­tion­al Resources: Video Lessons, Apps, Books, Web­sites & More 

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er, sec­u­lar home­school­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her play Zam­boni Godot is open­ing in New York City in March 2017. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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