A workbook teaches readers how to balance chemical equations.
This follow-up to Chemistry Games: Volume 1 (2011) gives readers an enjoyable way to study a complex subject. Providing four board games, the volume focuses on teaching students about stoichiometry and the law of conservation of mass. It also seeks to help them memorize the periodic table. Once again, each board is made up of colored squares on the “Outer Path,” which list the elements that each player needs to collect to balance a series of stipulated chemical reaction equations. Players move their pieces on the blank squares of the “Inner Path” by selecting Step Cards. The cards are marked with an element, such as carbon, along with its chemical symbol, atomic number, and the number of protons it has. These games also include Claim Cards, which provide the answers for how to balance the equations in the “Outer Path.” Each board comes with its own periodic table, broken into four sections by the “valence,” or combining power, of the elements. The games are specifically aimed at students who are taking chemistry either at the high school or college level, but they may also be valuable for readers who wish to brush up on the basic, foundational elements of the subject. To anyone else, the offerings will probably be incomprehensible. Gebhart’s (2 Lives in 3 Acts, 2017, etc.) determination to make chemistry accessible and interesting for students, especially by presenting them with a new challenge to explore, is admirable. Best of all, his games can all be reproduced and distributed by educators looking for an innovative way to keep their chemistry classes engaged with the topic. The imaginative work should be especially useful for students struggling with the material in their chemistry classes, who may not expect the curriculum to be amenable to games. The volume subverts the belief that learning the hard sciences has to be difficult or laborious.
This worthy sequel makes learning chemistry fun with a quartet of inventive board games.