Science Teacher develops innovative
new use for Rare Earth Game cards.

Posted: January 8th, 2012

I recently had a conversation by telephone with Ed Piva, a teacher in Linwood, Ontario. Ed told me that a few weeks ago, in the last week of school before Christmas, he taught the introductory materials science lesson to his grade 8 class. The following day. a student, Johnny, brought in a Rare Earth Game to show him.

It turns out that Johnny had purchased the game online after watching the Dragons' Den episode on CBC on December 14th. Having not had the chance to review the rules to the game, Ed saw a teachable moment in the cards and asked Johnny if he could distribute the cards amongst the students and Johnny agreed.

Ed then explained to the students that they should take on the character of the chemical element card they received and introduce themselves around the room to their fellow students, describing the properties they found on the card. He then asked them questions like, "who is a metal?" and "who is a non-metal" and hands shot up around the room.

Ed then asked them to go around the room looking for elements with which they had familial relationships as indicated on the cards. Some cards have "cousin," "brother" or "sister" elements (indicating that they are usually found together) and some elements are members of "families" (like the Nitrogen or the Calcogen "family").

Ed said that the students all had a great time and learned a great deal about the periodic table of elements in a single lesson. Rick and I are thrilled that Ed came up with an entirely new way to teach with the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game – a way to learn even before anyone learns how to play by the rules.

Our hats are off to Ed Piva for his creativity in the classroom. We're hoping other teachers will send us tales of their classroom experiences and creative use of the cards.

Thanks, Ed!

I'd also like to mention that Ed Piva is an innovative teacher who writes and records rap music that teaches science principles for middle school students. You can visit his Website at His music is also available on Very cool.

If you have a story about your classroom and the Rare Earth Game, we'd love to hear it.
Email or post a comment on the Facebook page.


Prior blog post - December 21 - One Week After the Dragons' Den

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