Shuffling the Particle Deck
Teams of students organize cards depicting fundamental particles based on their characteristics. This activity is a foundation for learning about the Standard Model and parallels the methods used by scientists to organize the elements into the period table.
The Particle Cards activity is based on the particle cards produced by Netzwerk Teilchenwelt, the main particle physics education and outreach program in Germany. Each card depicts one of the fundamental particles and its characteristics: mass, date of discovery, electric charge, etc. Students use these cards to become familiar with the Standard Model as an organized system of a limited number of fundamental particles with distinct characteristics and as constituents of more complex particles. In this activity working in groups, students organize the cards based on the characteristics of the particles. They decide how to do this and discover additional correlations based on their results. This activity is a foundation for learning about the Standard Model and for more complex particle physics activities. This activity parallels the methods used by scientists to organize the elements into the period table.