No:1 What’s in the Box…?

This is what Elemensus™ looks like: the boxed version front and back.

And this is what’s inside the box:

162 double-sided Element letter tiles, Orion Constellation Board, Elemensus tile trays, Rules sheet with a Periodic Table, Single Dice

The board is based on a detailed image of the Orion constellation. The grid marks out the tile placement. The yellow highlight cross-hairs mark stars where players can start their Word Ne-B-U-La-S*. Anyone may start a new Ne-B-U-La on their turn if there are available Stars. Or if you are lucky enough to have the first element Hydrogen {H} then a player may place this anywhere on the grid.  {* For all you scientists out there used to Latin we do know that Nebulae might be expect here. The OED reckons both are acceptable so that’s good enough for us. This also allows us to show off using Neon-Boron-Uranium-Lanthanum-Sulfur to good effect}.

The double-sided tiles feature a full complement of Periodic Table elements (with extras of some elements) on one side. They are colour coded to match the Group classifications of elements. The Element name is visible, the abbreviation and the atomic number which acts as a positive score if used.

The reverse of each tile has a full complement of A-Z tiles which represent undiscovered elements. These playfully represent the Dark Matter, which along with Dark Energy comprises a large percentage of the Universe. These tiles have negative atomic numbers and are subtracted from scores in play.

There are three main game plays: the main one is to make words using the Element tiles using either side of the tiles to score. Much higher scores result from using Element tiles – some of which are tantalisingly difficult (or are they…?).

Co-Sm-I-C F-U-N

Alvin Toffler comments in The Third Wave that people (children) are three times more likely to learn and retain knowledge if they do so through playing games. The sciences can be fantastic fun and many children take naturally to these subjects when well taught. Elemensus provides an opportunity to approach ideas in chemistry, physics, astronomy, and language in a playful, fun way. It provides access to the Periodic Table and turns scientific discovery in Chemical Science into personal discovery of the Elements, their names, how they are labelled and how they might fit together.

Elemensus allows anyone to celebrate language in all its forms, and to playfully relive that we’re all made of Stars*. Every single element in our bodies has been created from the original BigBang and synthesised in the element factories we call stars and on Earth. Our nearest star is the S-U-N. By playing with the elements, making words and connections we can all explore the consistuent parts of the Universe for life-long learning.

* The original Carl Sagan quote is usually “we’re all made of starstuff”.