Elaine T. (’22) creates chemistry card game on solubility rules


Elaine T. (‘22), a senior at Taipei American School, designed her own card game on solubility rules. [JAMES HAU/THE BLUE & GOLD]

Elaine T. (‘22, she/her) created a card game on solubility rules named “Ionic Combinations”, where students can practice the rules that indicate whether compounds dissolve in water. The inspiration came to her when she was studying for her Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry class last year. Elaine observed that many students enjoyed more nontraditional study methods such as Kahoot, so she wanted to design an alternative study method that was not stressful but nonetheless productive. She connected this goal with her family’s passion for board games to create her own game.

The game’s competitive mechanism comes from players completing mission cards to earn points; cards with more difficult missions award more points. For example, one mission would be naming three insoluble compounds for 5 points.

Since the first version of the game was created, there were numerous alterations that have allowed it to reach its current stage. Joyce Lu (‘22, she/her), a friend of Elaine, said that playing the first version of the game did not go very smoothly because the instructions were confusing and the rules made it difficult for players to earn points. After noticing this problem, Elaine proposed the current, improved version of the game. According to Joyce, the improved version allowed players to understand the game more easily and win in less time. Since each round took less time, it also allowed for more repetitions, enabling the players to absorb the information better due to more practice.

Elaine’s AP Chemistry teacher, Mr. Steve Anderson (he/him) explained his astonishment when he first heard about Elaine’s accomplishment. “Not a single student has embraced a side project to this extent in my 31 years of teaching,” he said. He also mentioned that he never gave Elaine any outside motivation, incentive or advice. He believes that the game is best suited for first year chemistry students, since “by the time [students] get to AP Chemistry [they] should have [the solubility rules] well known.”

Complications in the manufacturing process of the physical game have delayed its release. However, Elaine is in the process of creating an online version of the game that can be accessible by people around the world on a website called “The Game Crafter.” Elaine hopes that this game will allow students to gain a better understanding of the solubility rules through a more entertaining method.