I have always been fascinated with the Periodic Table of Elements. I mean, what is there not to love about the systematic organization of the very fiber of everything known to exist. It is kind of a beautiful thing to think about. A few years ago in a previous attempt to blog on a regular basis I created a spreadsheet in Google Drive that contained 60 periodic tables of things other than elements. I have been working to substantially update that list. What follows is a collection of 200 Periodic Tables of Almost Everything Except Elements ranging from Academic Disciplines to Yo-Yos!
To better organize the list and to present it in a more visual format, I decided to create a Pinterest Board. There is something very engaging about seeing all of the tables presented in this format, and I think that it encourages exploration in a way that the spreadsheet did not.
Here are some of my personal favorite periodic tables.
The Periodic Table of Fictional Metals and Alloys is a colourful interactive table of fictional metals from all areas of popular culture. From Wolverine's claws to TARDIS doors, make your inner geek smile and go click crazy!
The Periodic Table of Storytelling is incredibly rich with detail. As an English Major and fan of pop culture, this makes me incredibly happy. As a BONUS it is fully interactive and clickable! Each cell links to an article describing the element.
I also really enjoyed the quality collection of Interactive Periodic Tables from Periodic Presidents and the poster versions of the U.S. Presidents, Presidential Elections, the U.S. Constitution, and the Amendments.
HOW TO USE THIS IN YOUR CLASSROOM
Start by sharing the entire Pinterest Board with your students. Give them plenty of time to explore what is there and what it is that they are interested in. Encourage them to talk with one another about what they are finding. This may be something that you want to allow them to explore for an extended period of time.
Next, have them identify their five favorite periodic tables. Then have them determine why they chose these five as their favorites. Extend this discussion to have students identify what makes a well-crafted Periodic Table. I think that the best ones in this collection feature multiple layers of meaningful data. For example, compare the Star Wars Periodic Table Shirt which just has pictures of characters on the Light and Dark Sides versus the Periodic Table of The Empire Strikes Back Elements.
Once students have begun to more deeply appreciate the complexity of the organization and information that can be provided in a periodic table, challenge them to create their own. This would be a great way to visually represent and area of interest that they have. Another alternative might be to examine one of the existing tables from the list and discuss ways that they could improve it. While I was excited to be able to add a Periodic Table of Disney to the list, I was disappointed that they simply used the same layout as the Periodic Table of Elements and matched Disney characters with the existing elements. I think that this is one that could definitely be improved.
If you have your students create their own Periodic Tables, please share them with me. I would love to see what they come up with.