Monday, April 11, 2011

Our Periodic Weekend Fun

My son had a fun weekend. Well, by his standards anyway. It was filled with elements.

It started when he got home from school on Friday and couldn’t wait for us to open up his backpack. That was a sign that he had done well at school that day. On days where he’s had an incident, he is reluctant to let us see the point sheet that his school sends home every day. But, on Friday, he was anxious for us to see how he had done.

Sure enough, he had a great day. He had gotten a 100%, which is very rare for him. And not only that, he was recognized as both the Student of the Week and P.E. Student of the Week at the weekly school community meeting. It was a triple play in terms of great feedback.

Over the past couple months, with Kai having so many issues at school, we have been trying positive reinforcement to reward good behaviors at school. So, on this extra special day, my wife gave him the best reward he could imagine: a periodic table game.

The game, called Periodic Quest™, comes with 118 cards, one for each element, and a game board of the periodic table. Each card has the name of an element, its atomic symbol, atomic weight, and other information such as boiling point, melting point, density, and whether it is radioactive or not, among other things.

You can play several versions of the game, including some that involve forming compounds out of the elements, but we started with a beginner version where you move around the periodic table and collect as many elements as you can.

Kai was in heaven with all the element cards. Before this, he was frequently asking us what our favorite elements were. Now, with all of these cards, he was even more relentless with his questioning. “Which is your favorite element that starts with the letter ‘P’?” “Do you like boiling point better than melting point?” “Which element has the highest melting point?”

When we played the game, we found out how many of the elements he already knew. My wife and I would roll the dice, move our marker, and then struggle to figure out which element the symbol stood for. Kai, on the other hand, would usually quickly just call out the name. He is well on his way to learning the name, atomic symbol, and atomic weight of all 118 elements. Hopefully this knowledge will have more practical use for him one day than some of the other information he has collected, like the order in which the 50 states entered the U.S.

Yesterday, the 100th day of the year for those of you who do not have a personal day-counter at home, Kai’s element glow reached a new level: He discovered a Japanese version of the element song on YouTube.

He watched and listened to it over and over. As I watched it with him, I, too, found it strangely addicting. And so, if you want to get a taste of how weekends are at our house, give a listen to this song. But, be forewarned, you may find it to be hypnotic.


  1. I enjoyed that!

    Well done Kai for all your hard work :)

  2. loved the video! It's inspired me to post an abc one on my blog - look out for that soon!!
    Well done to Kai for having a great week. It sounds like he is going to be very special and important in the world of science one day :)

  3. Thanks, Casdok and Steph. And, thanks for the shoutout, Steph.

    Here is the link to Steph's post about the abc video. It is very cute so check it out!


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