Periodic Table Battleship

A few months back I shared that my favorite game is periodic table battleship on Twitter. I first stumbled across a version of this game when I was researching for activities to do as a student teacher many years ago. Since then, I have adapted the game for my students and my purposes. Here is how we play.

Learning Goals
I use this game as review, but it certainly could be put other places in the unit. It is effective way to get students practicing electron configurations and noble gas notations.

Class Setup
To get started, I give each student a laminated periodic table. It works just as well use periodic tables in plastic page protectors. Each student also needs a dry-erase marker and somewhere to do scrap work.

Game Setup
Each student should set up 2 "ships" on their game board (periodic table). This is done by outlining a chunk of elements. I tell my students to do a ship of 3 and a ship of 4. The elements must be next to each other vertically or horizontally.

Game Play
In Battelship, you make guesses using coordinates. In periodic table battleship, students make guesses using electron configurations or noble gas notations. I recommend that their partner confirm the element before telling them if it is a hit or miss.

An example turn would go like this:

Player 1: "Do you have a ship at 1s2 2s2 2p6?"
Player 2: "You referring to Neon?"
Player 1: "Yes"
Player 2: "Miss"

My students always have a lot of fun with it. It is ideal to play with partners, but does work in groups of 3 as well. This could very easily be played digitally by annotating an image of a periodic table. On iPad, this could be done using Mark Up in Photos and on Chromebook, the image could be imported and annotated in Google Drawings.

Please reach out if you have any questions!


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