Learning the table of elements is a tedious chore at school, but a gripping game at home, if you learn by playing Top Trumps. You can know your elements before you're seven years old! The way to victory is to know the facts.
Fortunately the facts are accompanied by fascinating stories of how they came about, and what crazy and dangerous ideas people had about them back in the day. They used to be almost worshipped for their super-human properties,and were given super-human names to match
Richard Cope, the originator of the game is full of the stories of the superheroes behind the cards. Richard Robinson, the director of Brighton Science Festival, is eager to learn. But which titan will win the actual game?,
They face each other on Saturday and Sunday, October 31 - November 1, on ZOOM,
per screen, ie per group
The story began over 15 years ago, when Richard Cope had an idea for a game. The dream was to educate children and young adults about the periodic table of elements.
While working in Australia, Richard created the initial drawings, and the concept was born. Then life took over and the idea was put on the back burner. However, it was never forgotten, and when Richard and Ruth started homeschooling their two boys, they decided to bring the game back to life. That’s when the hard work began.
The more they worked on the project, the more it took on a life of its own. Finally, after an almost superhuman effort (a bit like the characters on the cards), the game was born. The response and feedback received so far, has been staggering. Even now, it’s encouraging potential new Einsteins to see the periodic table, not as a mass of tiny numbers and letters, but as a smorgasbord of superheroes. Magic and chemistry wrapped up in a cosmic field of curiosity and understanding.
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Science is amazing, but sometimes the language of science is frustrating, often acting more as a barrier to understanding than as a help. My mission is to share the excitement, and simplify the language so we can all take part in it. My childhood was spent surrounded by my dad and brothers, who were all engineers. Naturally, I wanted to be an artiste when I grew up! I managed to do both, by making puppets, including mechanisms, then performing them on a children's TV show about science (The Riddlers: elf-like folks who try to 'riddle out' how the world works). There I practised speaking simple science, and found it was just as easy to be rigorous and accurate with clear English as with science-speak. I set up the Brighton Science Festival in 2005, because there is a great need to get kids engaged with science. It has been a great romp for me since then, to make things and learn things, and to pass on my learning to others, which makes my life richer, more useful, and heaps more fun. I've written 20 books about science, mostly for 7-11 year-olds. Over the past 15 years I have continued to encourage scientific thinking via the Brighton Science Festival, and the Pocket Science Funfair. There's plenty to be done: we need to understand a lot of things, from the huge (think climate change...) to the tiny (...and viruses). Let's keep on trying.