Commemorating the International Year of the Periodic Table 2019, ‘Periodic Picnic’ is a Workshop for building a Spiral Periodic Table, from representative elements present in everyday objects – approached in the form of a picnic. The ‘picnic baskets’ containing some regular items are resting with the panel of experts as follows:

1. Sun Hat (H), Salt Stand (Na), Banana (K) – Representing Alkali Metals
2. Any Green Herb (Mg), Cheese Block (Ca), Fireworks (Sr) – Representing Alkaline Earth Metals
3. Tennis Racket (B), Toy Aeroplane (Al) – Representing Boron Group
4. Toy Bird (C), Sand Clock (Si), Coke Can (Sn) – Representing Carbon Group
5. Match Box (P), Rat Poison (As) – Representing Nitrogen Group
6. Onion/Garlic (S) – Representing Oxygen Group
7. Toothpaste (F), PVC Pipe (Cl), Photography Film (Br), Tincture Iodine (I) – Representing Halogen Group
8. Balloons (He), Light Bulb (Ar), Flashlight (Kr) – Representing Nobel Gases
9. Toy Bicycle (Sc), Steel Cutlery (Cr), Paint Box (Cd), Thermometer (Hg), Pliers (Mo), Electric Wires (Cu) – Representing Transition Metals
10. Lighter Flint (Ce) – Representing Rare Earth Metals
11. Plastic Syringe labeled Radioactive Medicine (Ac) – Representing Actinide Metals

The experts, specialists in fields of Physics, Chemistry and Micro-Biology, are selecting items randomly from their baskets, inviting students to identify its signature elements. Upon identification, the experts bring out the peculiarities of the element/ period/ group. Meanwhile, students holding ‘elements’, in the form of tokens, belonging to the same period/group add it to the spiral periodic table. They see the table getting built, while recognizing them in everyday objects and delving into their finer, less discussed but cardinal properties, as introduced by the experts in various fields.

This Workshop was attended by 220 students and teachers from 11 schools of Kolkata, in May 2019. It was presided over by Prof. Maitree Bhattacharya, Prof. Nitin Chattopadhyay and Prof. Bhupati Chakraborty. We are planning repeat Workshops, modified for junior groups as well. The completed 3D form of this Periodic Table Tree is displayed in the Birla Industrial & Technological Museum premises as a welcome exhibit today.

About Birla Industrial & Technological Museum

Birla Industrial & Technological Museum (BITM) in Kolkata is the first science museum in the country under the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. It is engaged in popularizing and promoting science especially among the youth through various interactive models, exhibitions, educational programmes and activities throughout the year. BITM facilities are specifically designed to augment the learning curves of the students not only on curricular concepts in basic physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, electricity, electronics etc., but also on current topics of interest in science & technology and related social issues.