Students Create ‘Periodic Table of Cupcakes’

From aluminum to indium, hydrogen, plutonium and copernicum, eighth grade students at Mount Madonna School represented each of the 118 chemical elements this week – in a ‘Periodic Table of Cupcakes!’

“These students are learning inorganic chemistry,” explains science teacher Lisa Catterall. “They need to memorize the first twenty elements on the table before they can work with reactions and other topics. After they did that, we were discussing a project they do in art where they each make an artistic representation of a single element then put them together, and they just had the idea for the ‘table of cupcakes’ themselves. Several of them are very fond of baking.”

The whole class pitched in to create their “edible representation” of the elements, baking cupcakes at home and bringing in colored frosting and icing to trim them.

“We had just had a test on the Periodic Table,” explains eighth grader Alyssa Donoghue. “And we decided we wanted to do some project. We brainstormed different ideas. All the planning and gathering materials was challenging – and it was a lot of fun!”

Each cupcake was frosted and labeled with abbreviation for a particular element, and then the individual “elements” were organized by the selected properties of their atomic structure. Once the display was complete, the students were joined by the rest of the middle and high school for a short quiz on the elements.

Students were divided into teams by grade level, and science teacher Lisa Catterall called out letters and asked each team representative to identify the correct element associated with that letter. A correct answer resulted in cupcakes for a whole class! Students learned, had fun, and agreed it was one of the “tastiest tests” they’d ever had!

One important aside to the project, as the entire MMS Community is in the midst of a food drive for the Grind Out Hunger program of the Second Harvest Food Bank, eighth graders announced at the beginning of the presentation that in exchange for receiving a cupcake, students in the audience should consider making a food or monetary donation to Grind Out Hunger – and numerous students were happy to oblige.

Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Marketing & Communications 

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.


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