Mom Creates Periodic Table Battleship Game To Teach Her Kids Chemistry

When they play, they’re in their element.

01/14/2016 04:51 pm ET | Updated Jan 19, 2016
Do you have 2D, or rather, calcium?

Think all creative teaching methods argon? Think again!

A neon light went on over one mom’s head when she thought of a brilliant way to teach her kids chemistry -- a periodic table version of the game Battleship.

“I came up with the idea because we play Battleship a lot at our house,” Karyn Tripp, a mom of four who has been homeschooling her kids for the past seven years, told The Huffington Post. “I was studying chemistry with my kids and we were trying to think of a fun way to memorize them. So it just came to me!”

Turning a game about sinking naval ships into a learning vessel wasn’t a titanium failure, either. Her kids loved playing the game and her oldest son, 11, is now a huge fan of chemistry.

“He has a poster of the elements on the wall in his bedroom,” Tripp said. “He says his favorite element is Einsteinium because he thinks the name is cool.”

You sunk my battleship made of cobalt, rhodium, iridium and meitnerium!

To make the game, Tripp printed out four copies of the periodic table. Since numbers already ran horizontally across the top of the table, she started at the top left corner and vertically labeled the rows alphabetically. She then laminated the tables to make it re-usable. Two tables were then glued to the inside of two different filing folders. To play the game, each player opens the folder and places them back-to-back in the shape of an “L.” The top parts are then paper-clipped together to create a barrier.

The rules are so simple, even Tripp’s kids who haven’t learned about chemistry yet can play.

“The kids can then mark where they want to place their ships by circling rows of 2, 3, 4 and 5 elements on the lower table,” Tripp explains on he site. “They play by calling out coordinates. If they miss they put an X on the spot they chose on the upper table. If they get a hit, they circle it.”

The concept has apparently been floating around in some circles since at least the early 2000s, with buttons or other tokens to mark hits and misses. But even if the concept isn't novel, it's still a lot of fun. Great minds, as they say, think alike.

If you loved the idea of Periodic Table Battleship, Tripp has a lot of other learning games on her website, Teach Beside Me.

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