Teaching Science

grade 12

In Our Time: Free Radicals

In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the properties of atoms or molecules with a single unpaired electron, which tend to be more reactive, keen to seize an electron to make it a pair. In the atmosphere, they are linked to reactions such as rusting. Free radicals came to prominence in the 1950s with the discovery that radiation poisoning operates through free radicals, as it splits water molecules and produces a very reactive hydroxyl radical which damages DNA and other molecules in the cell. There is also an argument that free radicals are a byproduct of normal respiration and over time they cause an accumulation of damage that is effectively the process of ageing. For all their negative associations, free radicals play an important role in signalling and are also linked with driving cell division, both cancer and normal cell division, even if they tend to become damaging when there are too many of them.

Linked in the grade 12 chemistry page.

In Our Time: The Proton

In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the discovery and growing understanding of the Proton, formed from three quarks close to the Big Bang and found in the nuclei of all elements. The positive charges they emit means they attract the fundamental particles of negatively charged electrons, an attraction that leads to the creation of atoms which in turn leads to chemistry, biology and life itself. The Sun (in common with other stars) is a fusion engine that turn protons by a series of processes into helium, emitting energy in the process, with about half of the Sun's protons captured so far. Hydrogen atoms, stripped of electrons, are single protons which can be accelerated to smash other nuclei and have applications in proton therapy. Many questions remain, such as why are electrical charges for protons and electrons so perfectly balanced?

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics unit.

Gene Pool Card Game

Join the fight against rare genetic diseases by becoming a DNA engineer in Gene Pool, the new fast-paced mind-bending card game! Use strategy and spatial thinking to mutate, invert, delete and insert your way to success! Gene Pool is a card game for two players, ages 10 and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play.

How do you play
Gene Pool? You will be competing with your opponent to repair important genes of various length and difficulty with gene therapy. Make these repairs by modifying and rearranging a common DNA sequence. Your current genetic research goals are private, and are only revealed when they can be found within the DNA sequence. Continue repairing genes until one player completes enough research to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and the game!

Featuring amazing new artwork by Ariel Seoane, this edition has significant improvements in aesthetics and design. Along with exciting game play,
Gene Pool retains all the scientific accuracy from earlier editions, and can be used to demonstrate the concepts of genetics across all levels, from molecular models and double helix structure, to individual chromosomes and the whole genome.

This is the third time
Gene Pool has been made available, having sold out of a first hand-crafted edition of 200 copies in 2006, and again selling out of a second limited self-published run of 500 copies in 2009.

Goadrich Games will again be donating a portion of the profits from
Gene Pool to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), a non-profit dedicated to rare disease education, research, and advocacy.

This two-player card game teaches about inserting, deleting, and transposing genes in a DNA sequence. It is simple and fast. I haven’t tried it in class, but I look forward to playing it with my grand-niece.

Linked on the grade 12 biology page.

Subatomic: An Atom-Building Board Game

Subatomic is a deck-building game themed around the intersection of particle physics and chemistry. Players start with a hand of Up Quarks, Down Quarks and Particle/Wave Duality cards, which they use to form protons, neutrons, and electrons. Players combine these subatomic particles to either build available Elements or buy even more powerful cards for their deck.

Players start with a hand of 5 cards. They use their Up Quarks and Down Quarks to create Protons and Neutrons, and use their Particle/Wave Duality Cards to create Electrons.

They can either use these Subatomic Particles to either purchase Subatomic Particle cards that get mixed into a player's starter deck, making it more powerful, or build up the atom on their player mat (in order to claim Element Cards, which are what score them points).

When a player claims an Element, they also place two Goal Markers on the board, competing over control for additional end game points. At the end of the game, you'll get points for End Goals based on the Elements you built during the game IF you have the most or second most Goal Markers on any given End Goal.

Player can also remove weaker cards from their deck (cull their deck) by Annihilating cards from their hand for a cost of 2 energy.

I backed this game on Kickstarter, after playtesting it a couple of times. While too complicated to fit into the regular science classroom, it would make a useful addition to a school gaming club's library.

Linked in the grade 9 chemistry unit and grade 12 modern physics unit.

Bios:Genesis (game)

The first 4 billion years of life on Earth.

The Earth has seen dramatic events: lava oceans, a great collision that formed its moon, the filling of the oceans by impact bolides, the riding of continents with plate tectonics. Among these noisy events, life got started, perhaps many times and in many forms. The players, representing “soup ingredients”, must find a sheltered refuge in order to start autocatalytic cycles and accumulate catalysts. Once they achieve templated reproduction, they can share their progress by swapping genetic material or becoming parasites or chimeras. The game ends in the Cambrian Explosion, with the advent of multicellular life and the invasion of the land.

Solitaire, competitive, and cooperative play options. This is the first game in the Bios:Trilogy, being followed by Bios:Megafauna 2 and Bios:Origins 2. The Bios games are linked yet independent.

Contents:
  • 60 Cards illustrated by Karim Chakroun
  • 16 oversized placards, for bacteria and refugia
  • 48 disks representing catalysts, enzymes, and antioxidants
  • 64 wooden cubes for manna & chromosomes
  • 16 wooden domes for bionts
  • 12 six-sided dice, used for autocatalytic and Darwin rolls
  • Rules and historical background, 68 pages
  • Folding player aid

Players: 1-4
Age: 14+
Playing Time: 1-2 hours
Complexity: high

Another cool game I found on Kickstarter, now available in retail (although from Germany, where Phil Eklund has relocated). Phil designs rich games that thoroughly explore a setting, at the cost of fairly high complexity. As such I wouldn't use this in the regular classroom. If you have a gifted class, or students who want to play it after school, I think they could learn a lot.

You can get a good idea of what Bios:Genesis involves on the Kickstarter page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/684398802/bios-genesis-2nd-edition-begin-evolve-conquer

Linked on the grade 12 biology page.

The Rock Cycle Game

A simple card game designed to reinforce the sequence of the rock cycle. Cards represent either materials (such as sedimentary rock) or processes (such as melting). Material cards have illustrations and descriptions of common rocks, such as chert or granite.

Players must follow the sequence of the rock cycle as they race to be the first to empty their hand.

This print-and-play game is formatted to be printed on prepunched business card stock, making it fast to print a class set of games.

Linked on the Earth & Space Science page.

In Our Time: Pauli’s Exclusion Principle

In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and ideas of Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958), whose Exclusion Principle is one of the key ideas in quantum mechanics. A brilliant physicist, at 21 Pauli wrote a review of Einstein's theory of general relativity and that review is still a standard work of reference today. The Pauli Exclusion Principle proposes that no two electrons in an atom can be at the same time in the same state or configuration, and it helps explain a wide range of phenomena such as the electron shell structure of atoms. Pauli went on to postulate the existence of the neutrino, which was confirmed in his lifetime. Following further development of his exclusion principle, Pauli was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945 for his 'decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature'. He also had a long correspondence with Jung, and a reputation for accidentally breaking experimental equipment which was dubbed The Pauli Effect.

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics page.

Quark Soup Card Game

A set-collecting game for 2-5 players. Have fun learning the physics of quarks!

Collect one meson and one baryon to win the game. Build a barrier of quarks to protect yourself, but beware annihilation attacks, photon excitation and quantum entanglement in the world where even reality is uncertain!

No knowledge of particle physics is required!

Another card game about quarks. Maybe it’s an artifact of google, but there seem to be more games about quarks than any other part of physics.

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics page.

Quarkle Card Game

Quarkle is a game of making particles out of quarks by adding up their charges.

In this game, the players get to put together quarks to make many different particles (both mesons and baryons).

For ages 4+ you can play the game with no knowledge of particle physics or adding fractions or being able to read.

For high schooler physics classes learning about particle physics and the emergent behaviours of the quark interactions, the game helps them understand the difference between baryons and mesons and gives them practice finding the charge of particles by adding their quark or anti-quark components.

Finally, the game can be played in an advanced mode involving quantum chromodynamics and the “colour charge.” In this way, it can be fun and competitive for all ages and levels of scientific knowledge.

Soon there will also be an expansion pack that adds electroweak interactions, Feynman diagrams, force-carrying particles, the Higgs Boson, etc… keep watching for further additions to enhance this “nerd-tastic” game.

This is a fun little game. The designer is selling it at cost so it’s affordable (but like all print-on-demand products, it still costs more than a mass-produced deck would cost).

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics page.

Covalence: A Molecule Building Game

Covalence is a chemistry-themed cooperative game where players work together to accurately build a number of secret organic molecules. One player has knowledge of a set of Secret Molecules. All other players must deduce what these secret molecules are, based upon clues given to them. Players must cooperatively construct their molecules before the clues run out!

How to Play
One player takes on the role of the “Knower” while all other players then become the “Builders”. The Knower has access to a number of Secret Molecules and will give the Builders clues about these as they attempt to identify their structure. After setting up the Clue cards in front of her, the Knower will randomly designate 3 Secret Molecule cards for each Builder (4 Secret Molecules if there is only one Builder). Each Builder then takes a set of Element Tiles that bear a variety of elements and bonding patterns.

The Knower must study the Secret Molecules designated to each Builder and then give each Builder clue cards that relate to their specific Molecule!

Each Builder must interpret these Clues as they arrange and rearrange their individual Element Tiles, attempting to deduce the structure of their Secret Molecule.

Builders may request new Clues from the Knower as the game progresses with their limited supply of Clue Tokens.

When the Builders think that the molecular structures they have built match their Secret Molecules, they submit their structure to the Knower with a Guess Token.

If the Builders submit their molecular structures and are wrong, they have exhausted precious resources and are that much closer to losing the game.

If the Builders submit their molecular structures and are correct, they receive more Clue Tokens as a reward and may begin building their next Secret Molecule! If each Builder is able to correctly build both of their Secret Molecules, everyone wins!

You don’t need to know chemistry to play this game. I don’t teach organic chemistry, but I think this might be useful as a light-hearted review.

Linked in the grade 12 chemistry page.

Linkage: A DNA Card Game

In Linkage, each player links RNA cards side-by-side to build their own RNA strand, attempting to copy the shared DNA Template (in biology, this process of copying is called DNA Transcription). Players decide whether to build on their own RNA strand, repair their RNA strand, or mutate an opposing strand (or the template itself.) Players earn points based upon how accurately their RNA strands match the DNA Template, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins!

This is a free print-and-play game from Genius Games. To get it you have to sign up for their mailing list, but as the only emails they send are announcements of educational games that’s not a bad deal!

Linked in the grade 12 biology page.

Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game

A board game taking place inside a human cell! Players compete to build enzymes, hormones and receptors and fend off attacking Viruses!

Players utilize the organelles within a cell to collect cellular resources such as mRNA from the Nucleus, Lipids from the Smooth E.R., ATP from the Mitochondria, etc. and score points when they use these resources to complete Hormones, Receptors or Enzymes!

2 to 5 Players, Ages 10 & up, Plays in 50 to 75 mins

Currently a Kickstarter campaign, Cytosis is fully funded and expected to ship in August 2017.

Linked in the grade 12 biology page.

Peptide: A Protein Building Game

Players compete to link Amino Acids side-by-side, building what’s called a Peptide Chain (another fancy word for a protein). In order to build this protein, players must first make a set of thoughtful selections from a number of openly available Organelle Cards. Selected Organelle Cards are removed from that round’s available options, creating an interactive open-card-drafting mechanic.

(Only available through pre-order. Peptide will be shipping in May and June of 2017)

This one looks interesting, but I’m not certain how closely it links to high school biology. The rules are downloadable from the web site, so if you teach biology check it out.

Linked in the grade 12 biology page.

Pentaquark

Some of the biggest questions in the world of science may be answered by studying quarks, the smallest of particles. The problem with trying to study quarks is that you can’t find just one quark; you need to find them in groups called hadrons, or some other exotic particles, like the Pentaquark.

In the game, you are trying to give science a little helping hand by collecting the 5 quarks that form this particle at the detector of a massive particle collider. Move cards you need to the detector, discard others so they may come back as anti-quarks, and try to minimize the number of quarks scattered and lost. If too many cards are removed from the game, the Pentaquark has slipped through undetected once again!

Pentaquark is a single player game designed by Mike Mullins with art by Fabrice Weiss. Gameplay lasts 15-30 minutes (you will immediately want to play again) and recommended for ages 12 and up.

This is a fun little game. I’d recommend spending the extra $2 and getting all the expansions.

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics page.

Quark Matter Card Game

Quarks and leptons, such as electrons, muons and neutrinos... Sounds a bit scary, doesn't it? With the help of this booklet, you can get into touch with the incomprehensible world of elementary particles. This is not just a usual booklet: it contains a set of 66 cards, and describes six games with them. The cards represent elementary particles from the Standard Model. You can play family style memory games with particles and their anti-particles, have fun with Quark Matter, the perfect fluid of quarks. You can even find your own Higgs boson and win one of the games on the spot. It is fun to have elementary particles in your hands, or, in your pocket! The games scale very well, recommended from 5 years old to adults.

This is a bit of an odd product. It’s as much a pamphlet on quarks as it is a game (or games). Still, at less than $5 for the PDF it can be useful for curious students.

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics page.

Quark: a game of matter — Card Game

Exert your influence and guide the swirling mass of the smallest bits of matter back together to form sub-atomic particles while racing to build the biggest atom.

Quark is a lighter weight card game. Players have two actions each turn they can use to collect quarks, decay quarks down into other quarks, annihilate quarks for energy or to create particles.

At the end of the game, players score points for particles created, the best atom created and any energy they have left over.

A fairly simple game. Print-and-play, and free so it costs nothing to try it. The components are a bit basic for a finished game, but quite good for a playtest version (which I think this is).

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics page.

Quark Card Dealer Activity

Elementary particles, which make up everything in our world, have the amazing features that we cannot see in our daily life. One of the features is “color charges” which are compared to the three primary colors of red, green and blue. Playing the card game, you can understand the color charges intuitively and enjoy the world of elementary particle physics. The elementary particle “quark” is explained by the Quantum Chromodynamics which is abbreviated as QCD. The card game “Quark Card Dealer” is named after the abbreviation.

This print-and-play card activity, translated from the Japanese, is a bit odd — but some of your students might like it.

Linked in the grade 12 modern physics page.

Erosion Card Game

A nice little card game about orogeny and erosion. Compress the formation of the Himalayas into 30 minutes with Erosion! Links to the creator’s web site which has presentations and lab activities, as well as to the Yahoo Group which has a copy of the rules.

Linked in the grade 12 earth & space science page.

New In Our Time Episodes

New Resources


  • Added link to the 1816, the Year Without a Summer episode of In Our Time, linked in the grade 10 climate unit.
  • Added link to the Neutron episode of In Our Time, linked in the grade 11 physics energy unit.

New and Updated Resources

New Resource


  • Added the Word Puzzle Booklet for grade 12 chemistry, linked in the general chemistry section.

Updated Resource


  • Minor changes to the Word Puzzle Booklet for Grade 12 biology, linked in the general biology section.

New Grade 12 Biology Resource

New Resource


New Grade 12 Physics Resource

New Resource


New Resources

New Grade 10 Resources


  • Added link to the Wellcome Collection video Dissecting the Brain, linked in the biology unit.
  • Added link to the At-Bristol Science Centre video Brain Dissection, linked in the biology unit.
  • Added link to the At-Bristol Science Centre video Eyeball Dissection, linked in the biology and physics units.
  • Added link to the At-Bristol Science Centre video Heart Dissection, linked in the biology unit.

New Grade 11 Resource


  • Added link to the Veritasium video explaining the Three Incorrect Laws of Motion, linked in the forces unit.

New Grade 12 Resource


New Grade 11 & 12 Physics Resources

New Grade 11 Resource


  • Added link to the In Our Time program States of Matter on BBC, linked in the energy unit.

New Grade 12 Resource


  • Added link to the In Our Time program Gravitational Waves on BBC, linked in the modern physics unit.

New Grade 12 Physics Resource

New Resource