The atomic clock is based on the numbers 1–12, denoting the hour of the day, and 5, 10, 15 … 60, denoting 5-minute segments of time.

You could make a large-scale classroom atomic clock, similar to the one shown. In the example given, elements with atomic number 1 to 12 occupy the hour positions, and elements 5, 10, 15 and so on occupy minute positions.

Ask your students to give the time of day in element form, for example, half past 2 is ‘carbon past helium’, 20 to 11 is ‘oxygen to sodium’.

Students could also be asked to come up with their own ‘element’ clock face design.

    Published 22 October 2009, Updated 22 November 2013