When studying the Periodic Table of the Elements, students need to know the classification of the elements as metals, nonmetals and metalloids and where they are located on the table. They also need to know that elements in the same grou
ps (vertical columns) have similar properties because the number of their valence electrons are the same.
Maureen Basher, a science teacher at Valley Central High School, has figured out a way to make chemistry memorable to her pupils. She makes it appetizing.
Students in her class learn the arrangement of the table by constructing a model of the table out of mini cupcakes. They love this idea because it relates to food that they can later eat, Mrs. Basher said.
After baking the cupcakes, students break into groups and choose a color. They frost the cupcakes (all 112) and iden
tify them by color. They then use white decorating gel to write the chemical symbols on the cakes.
“What the students enjoy most is the part where they have to place the cupcakes in the periodic table order,” said Mrs. Basher. “It's very much like a puzzle they have to put together. They also have to work together and have conversations on how to best organize and arrange the cupcakes properly. It's really not as easy as it looks.”
After the table is complete and the students document their creation with photos, their favorite part of the project takes place: they eat their creations. The project is a great way to mix fun and tactility to learn more about science, Mrs. Basher said.