Tactile periodic tables

Lego® is a great option for building tactile models and some scientists at Columbus State University came up with the idea of using Lego® to illustrate chemistry concepts. Their original paper is here.

We’ve developed some models from their idea. Here is our periodic table for first ionisation energy!

A 3D periodic table made of lego bricks, where the height of each column represents the magnitude of the ionization energy for that element.
3D tactile periodic table with the heights of each column representing the value of the first ionization energy of each element

We took the values for ionisation energy for each element and scaled all the values down by a factor of 200. Then each element is built from a Lego® column to the nearest 1/3 of a unit. This works because Lego® plates are 1/3 of the height of a lego brick. 
A picture showing how 3 lego plate pieces can be fitted together to be the same height as one lego brick.

We also put the alkali metals, transition elements and p block on 3 separate base plates so you can compare trends across the whole periodic table or just the s and p blocks.

We then used different lego tiles to make the s, d and p blocks feel different.

If you want to try something similar, here are the values we used. There are lots of places on the internet where you can buy second-hand bricks and choose your colours. We used BrickOwl.