September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

A Little Humor with the Periodic Table for the Holidays!

Posted: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010


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.

CCSAdI’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

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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California Science Assessment Update

Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.