CSTA Classroom Science

A Little Humor with the Periodic Table for the Holidays!

By Tim Williamson

Many of you who teach the “Periodic Table” may have discovered that it can be very difficult to engage your younger students in understanding this rather intimidating chart.  Especially for those 3rd and 5th-grade teachers where some sort of periodic table interaction is part of their science standards.

I’ve been using a fun and unique getting-acquainted-with-the-periodic-table game with my preservice elementary science methods teachers at CSULB for many years.  It’s a great way to introduce elementary students to the periodic table and helps take away some of the “scary feelings” associated with the chart.

The name of the game is “Chemistry Can Be Pun.”  You’ll have to pick and choose from the list if you’re going to use this with third grade as some of them are more difficult to understand.

I’m sure many of you have seen this before, but perhaps have misplaced it or wished you’d have saved a copy of it.  Well, here it is!  I can’t remember where I got my copy or who came up with the idea because I’ve had it for many years.  So whoever put it together, thank you for your great idea and for making a sometimes difficult introduction to the periodic table humorous and fun.

Happy Holidays and enjoy!


Chemistry Can Be Pun

With a wild imagination and a flair for puns, you will be able to use the names of many of the elements to take the place of other words or phrases.  Some are very straightforward, but many homonyms require a stretch of the imagination.  Be creative and have pun!

1. Police officer. ____________________

2. Lone Ranger's horse. ________________________

3. If they are not here, they ___________.

4. To press a blouse. ________________________

5. Motto for an oil well‑drilling company. __________________________

6. What should you do with dead people's bodies? ________________________

7. A fixture in your house with a faucet and a drain. _________________________

8. Wholenium x 0.5. ____________________________

9. A ridiculous prisoner. ____________________________

10. A burial chamber that weighs 2 000 pounds. ____________________________

11. Guided or directed. __________________________

12. Grab that guy! _____________________________

13. What do you do before you brand a steer? _______________________________

14. A popular red or pink flower found in pots. ____________________________

15. A Latin Mickey Mouse's dog. _____________________________

16. Someone who helps people in distress is a good __________________________

17. After successfully riding a bronco, a rancher shouts, "I _________________    ."

18. What do you do if you are a big, dark cloud? __________________________

19. Speaking of beautiful mountains, you might say, "They __________________ ."

20. Funds from your mother's sister. ___________________________

21. Opposite of hot. ______________________

22. A person from Norway, Sweden, or Finland.  ________________________

23. A Native American. ___________________________

24. If people are sick, the doctor will ______________________.

25. A wrestler holding down an opponent may have a ____________________     him.

26. The kitchen on a Roman ship. _____________________________

27. The police may stage a _______________ a bookie joint.

28. A roll shaped like an automobile. ______________________________

29. A person from Troy who only goes out after dark. __________________________

30. What a fatally wounded person says. ____________________________

31. Boards that have nailed down to walk upon. ______________________________

32. The ruler of Davy Jones' Locker. ________________________________

33.  Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses ______________________________

34. A name for a person who talks too much.  _______________________________

35. Function of a bullet-proof vest. ______________________________

36. Upper class of Troy. _________________________________

37. What you did to the wrinkles when you ironed a shirt.   _____________________

38. What do you call a starving man’s gut?  _____________________________

Pun Answers:  There may be better ones out there…

1. copper

2. silver

3. argon

4. iron

5. boron

6. barium

7. zinc

8. hafnium

9. silicon

10. krypton

11. lead

12. cesium

13. europium

14. gadolinium/germanium

15. plutonium

16. samarium

17. rhodium

18. uranium

19. arsenic

20. antimony

21. gold

22. scandium

23. indium

24. helium, curium

25. neon

26. gallium

27. radon

28. carbon

29. nitrogen

30. iodine

31. fluorine

32. neptunium

33. nobelium

34. bismuth

35. protactinium

36. hydrogen

37. iridium

38. nobelium



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