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Putnam County R-I Schools

High School


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Wanted by the F.B.E.

Federal Bureau of Elements Most Wanted

Putnam County Chemistry students took a little bit of time and creativity this past week exploring the history of an element they chose and presenting it as a "criminal." Part of the curriculum in the course takes a look at the history and the development of the periodic chart. Students created posters that included the name, aliases, crime "family," date of birth, last known address, identifying marks, description, and a mug shot of their chosen element.

Teaching the history of the periodic table offers an opportunity to recap many important points within chemistry and iron out common chemical misconceptions. Before all naturally occurring elements were discovered, the periodic table was used to predict the chemical and physical properties of elements in the gaps on the table. Today, the table can be used to predict properties of elements yet to be discovered, although these new elements are all highly radioactive and break down into more familiar elements almost instantly. It is common for students to think that the periodic table has remained unchanged since the 1800s. However, the newest elements on the periodic table are nihonium (113), moscovium (115), tennessine (117), and oganesson (118), which were all officially added in 2016.

Be sure to check out our photo gallery to see our most wanted! The students enjoyed learning about the elements and using some creativity in chemistry class.