mendeleev’s madness

Surprise: I thought maybe Tucker might want to handle atomic theory with the kids this year. I really just wanted them familiar with the periodic table — all our other science stuff just pops up here and there out of interests that are usually concurrent with other projects. But they didn’t know what elements were, or much about the periodic table.

Didn’t seem like much fun to just “study” ALL of them. Ask the neurochemist of the house: some of them, there’s just not that much to say about. Others, are kind of interesting.

Having found many links to different types of periodic tables — showing the elements by use, as cartoon characters, as haiku — and using a couple of books that the kids have really enjoyed, plus videos — Tucker picked thirty-two elements he considered worth having them research — using whatever sources we had — and set up a “March Madness”- type elimination bracket system.

And then he began advertising the “battles”.


One look at Béla suggests that this is a pretty alarming thing to wake up to.

Actually, it is pretty low pressure. They just work out their research in the course of the day. Claudia’s note taking while leisurely looking at books looks a lot different than Béla’s frantic writing while watching Periodic Videos (he now knows what a pause button is).

But hey, this was a special battle to share here (as I’m sure others will be as well) because it had the bonus of experimenting with… HELIUM!

It didn’t work for Béla. Or maybe it did. But he was also definitely enhancing it.

Claudia was pretty freaked out. And me — well, I guess I’ll have to try another time…

I’m sure things will get more heated the closer we get to each kid’s final round. They have already made different choices for “winners” in different battles… so stay tuned.