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Family Reunion Puzzle (2 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Physical Properties, Elements, Review. Last updated November 1, 2021.


Summary

In this activity, students will be challenged to solve a collection of anagrams—but with a twist! Given 27 ordinary words, students must remove one letter and then rearrange the remaining letters to form a chemical term. Additionally, the anagrams are grouped into 3 families, with all of the chemical terms in each family sharing a common property or theme.

Grade Level

High School

Objectives

By the end of this activity, students should be able to

  • Improve their recognition of common chemistry terms.
  • Use their problem-solving skills to solve puzzles, such as an anagram. 

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of

  • Physical Properties
  • Elements
  • Lab Equipment
  • Organic Nomenclature

Time

Teacher Preparation: minimal

Lesson: 15 – 20 minutes

Materials

  • Student handout

Safety

  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • This activity was originally published in the April 2015 issue of ChemMatters Magazine. It has been republished in the AACT library with permission by the editor.
  • This activity was chosen to be republished in the ChemFun section of the November 2021 issue of Chemistry Solutions.
  • This activity was designed to be a fun way for students to challenge their problem solving abilities with a twist on anagram puzzles. An anagram is typically a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word of phrase. In this puzzle, students will apply the spirit of an anagram, but will also be required to remove a letter from the given word in order to rearrange the remaining letters to properly discover a chemical term.  
  • In family 1 of the puzzle, note that the word “tonne” is a non-SI weight unit called the metric ton. It is equivalent to 2,205 pounds.
  • This activity could be used as a quick warm-up/bell-ringer activity, or shared with students who finish an assignment earlier than others.
  • An answer key document has been provided for teacher reference.

For the Student

Lesson

Directions

The world of chemistry has a rich vocabulary that lends itself to anagrams. This puzzle explores this—with a twist! We provide 27 ordinary words. For each word, your goal is to remove one letter and then rearrange the remaining letters to form a chemical term.

Examples:
  • Given the word, SLATE you could remove the E from SLATE and unscramble the remaining four letters to form the chemical term SALT.
  • Given the word, BEAST remove the T and unscramble the remaining four letters to form the chemical term BASE.

We have grouped the anagrams into 3 families. All the terms in each family share a common property or theme. For instance, in the examples above, both SALT and BASE are electrolytes. Can you reunite each family by determining the category for each family and by unscrambling their 9 entries? Good luck with your search!

Family 1 Family 2 Family 3
LINT BOUT GASH
LODGE COAT TARPON
PEDAL DICE FLAKES
TONNE NEON SNOOPS
BRONCO DEPTH TIPPER
INROAD THYME WAITER
GROANS DOCKED BREAKER
ZIRCON* DUNCES TONGUES*
ZIRCON* PROMPT* SWELL PETAL

Important Notes

  1. An asterisk (*) identifies a word from which TWO letters will be removed (not just one) in order to form the chemical term.
  2. The double entry of zircon (in Family 1) is not a typo. Two different pairs of letters should be taken out, to form two different chemical terms.
  3. Here are three cryptic clues in random order about the families:
  • counting carbons
  • lab stuff
  • short periodic table entries