I clearly remember (not in a good way) my 8th grade science teacher making us memorize the periodic table of the elements. We each had to present an element as well as a model in front of the class, I had mendelevium, and at the time it seemed one of the more pointless things we had to memorize that year. There was no practical application besides things like gold and iron which everyone knew about…what the heck is terbium and why should a twelve year old care? I finished the project, passed the test, and then like most rote memorized items with no practical application, the knowledge faded quickly.
Well, if Dr. Kazuk had given us this excellent version of the periodic table, perhaps we might have considered the memorization a little more applicable to our everyday lives. For the record, terbium is used as a compound in X-ray machines, fluorescent lamps and lasers. The table contains all the usual information you find in a periodic table of elements, but then under each element, it lists real-world items that contain that element.
This opens up a new avenue of projects for Science teachers where students can not only learn the different elements, but then connect them to real world uses and even explore the method in which the element is applied. For example, assigning a student to report on radon, they’ll see it’s a key element in earthquake predictors. I smell a five paragraph essay coming on!