With the Periodic Table celebrating its 141st birthday this week, I had an idea for grading student work – e.g. class tests and lab reports, which would build the learning experience even into understanding their grade.
Instead of giving a mark (between 1-100, or 1-50, say), one could give the element symbol whose atomic number corresponds to the grade. So someone getting 100% would be awarded Fm, and a gold (Au) grade would correspond to 79%; good, but not as good as uranium (92). A pass mark of 40% would get Zr, etc.
This would mean the students always needed to have a Periodic Table with them, and after a while, some association between elements and atomic numbers might sink in!
Like Mendeleev, I did consider using atomic masses, but the issue of isotopes would make this too confusing.
How to deal with half marks? Well, maybe you could write something like Cd+1/2 for 48.5%. I toyed with the idea of a ‘+’ sign, but then we get confusion with ions …
Yes, I know this sounds mad, but it is Friday, and it seemed too mad an idea not to share!