2019 International Year of the Periodic Table Timeline of Elements

2019 International Year of the Periodic Table 
Timeline of Elements

YES! We are doing another collaborative project! If you missed out on participating in our 2011 Periodic Table Project, this is your opportunity to have your students celebrate and be part of a worldwide initiative. the University of Waterloo Periodic Table project poster

2011 International Year of Chemistry Periodic Table Project

Why 2019?

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements 
(IYPT 2019). The goal

"in proclaiming an International Year focusing on the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness of how chemistry promotes sustainable development and provides solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health."

This year coincides with the 150th anniversary of Dmitry Mendeleev’s published periodic table in 1869.

Why a timeline? 

  readers will remember our 2011 Periodic Table Project (above), which produced a wall mural, free mobile app and classroom posters. To celebrate the Year of the Periodic Table we decided to take a different approach to the table and deconstruct it into the years the elements were discovered. Our goal is to have chemistry students from around the world join together to create an original and imaginative version of the Timeline of Elements focused on their discovery. 

Here is how it will work

Again we ask that teachers act as our contact and apply to have their class design a tile for one assigned element. Once assigned, it is up to the teacher to determine how the class will design their tile for that assigned element. It can be a contest, a bonus project or part of your study of the elements. Whichever approach is taken, the project should highlight the creative talent of young people in chemistry. 

We are still designing the layout of the timeline — we are even thinking of having round or hexagonal tiles but before we can start we need to have teachers apply to adopt one element. You will find out in September your assigned tile so your students will have almost five months to complete your one tile. We hope to make a classroom poster for Chem 13 News readers and a public website for this project with a special wall mural in the new Science Teaching Complex at the University of Waterloo. We already have a wall picked out. 

How are elements assigned?

Simply apply for an element on our website — there is no cost to participate and the form will take 5 minutes to fill out! Our last project had all the elements taken in the first six weeks and we ran out of elements. This time we will be opening up the application process from May 15 to August 7, 2018. Plenty of time for schools overseas to sign up. We will also take into consideration special reasons if a school would like a particular element. If more than 118 schools apply, a lottery will determine participating schools. The actual artwork deadline for tiles will be March 15, 2019 (So second semester students can participate!)

What images can be used on each tile?

The artwork and image chosen for each element can be obvious (such as discoverer, location or experiment) or subtle in connection. Our hope is to focus on some aspect of the discovery of the element but we do not want to limit students’ creativity. Students are encouraged to look for less obvious images and connections. Keep it interesting. Please include an explanation of the process used to create the tile, and some background notes explaining how your class made connections between the elements and the images created. Please do not use copyrighted images. Original work only. The medium is up to your students.

2019 International Year of the Periodic Table
Timeline of elements

A timeline of the discovery of the elements listed out, mostly by decades. Each elemental symbol is in a blue hexagon tile.

Who can participate?

Teachers at any course level with a chemistry component, are welcome to have their students participate — from grade school to high school to PhD students!   

Rules & Guidelines  

Apply for an assigned element at our website www.uwaterloo.ca/chemistry/Timeline-of-Elements. In September, you will be emailed your school’s assigned element with instructions on the size and shape of the design tiles. Atomic number and symbol must be clearly displayed in the tile. The tile submissions will be done electronically — with a resolution of 400 dpi or higher. Students are free to use full colour and each design must include a paragraph (approximately 100 words) about the process used, concept and history behind the creative tile. 


Dates Instructions
May 15 to July 15, 2018          Fill out online application form
September 2018 Element assignment via email
March 15, 2019 Electronic submission of artwork
March to June 2019 Creation of the collaborative project (poster, website and wall mural)

Celebrate with us

Teachers are encouraged to make their own classroom timeline or periodic table to celebrate 2019. If you do, please send us photos as we would love to post them on our website celebrating the International Year of the Periodic Table. How wonderful would it be to have a collection of student-made periodic tables from around the world to complement our Timeline of Elements?