Here’s the part of the science curriculum I’ve come up with so far, a modern icon, the Periodic Table. There’s only one I know of that’s pretty enough to hang on the wall. It comes from Theodore Gray’s site. I must say that I although I think the poster is amazing and the site is (was?) brilliant, it seems to have suffered from a sudden proliferation of advertising for this same poster which drags it down a bit. Here I was, planning to buy the poster anyway, and now I would like to get some extra information about all the elements and enjoy the pictures. There is lots of information, photographs and other wonderful stuff. And, at a rate of about three times per page, there are lots more adverts for this poster. Nobody, but nobody, who visits this site will be left in any doubt that there is a poster for sale. That, I suppose, is the idea, but I’m sure there must be more refined ways of achieving the same end. Maybe it’s just me, but this does not breed in me an earnest desire to buy further posters for everyone from my third cousin to my neighbour’s budgie. It breeds in me a certain irritation.
Currently, we’re having a small problem with our poster because the US postal service have decided to mangle it, but I’m confident we can sort that out. With the Periodic Table goes a certain amount of vocabulary, which will hopefully emerge from our idle chitchat around it:
- parts of the table: period, group, atomic number, atomic mass number,chemical symbol
- some groups whose names are worth knowing: alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals, chalcogens, halogens, noble gases
- some other ways of describing elements: metal, metalloid, non-metal, radioactive, stable, unstable
- elements and their names: Mike’s view is that we should all learn Tom Lehrer’s Elements song off by heart. This probably will work quite well as we are all big fans of Lehrer, even though he’s rarely suitable for children. Antonia’s favourite song is called Poisoning Pigeons in the Park. That’s possibly because she can not understand so many of the others (I hope).
Anyway, we already know chunks of the Elements song. And thanks to Theodore Gray we will be able to know that our big favourite ‘Fooly-em’ (Thulium) has “very few applications” and that “some people consider it the most useless of all naturally occuring elements”. We might have guessed that from its name.
PS. In case you hadn’t gathered, Theodore Gray is selling posters like the one above ; )