Imagine the Universe!
Cosmic Shuffle

Cosmic Shuffle
(By Minadene Waldrop, Terry High School, Terry, MS)

In this card game, you will create the fusion reactions for elements up to oxygen. This game can be played with 2 or 3 players, and a separate score-keeper.

Cut in half 3" x 5" note cards. On each resulting 3" x 2.5" card write the chemical symbols for the following elements and isotopes (the number in parenthesis indicates the number of cards of that element you will need.): 1H1 (24), 1H2 (3), e+ (7), e- (3), energy (20), neutrinos (7), 2He4 (6), 2He3 (5), 3Li7 (2), 4Be7 (2), 4Be8 (1), 5B8 (1), 6C12 (3), 6C13 (2), 7N14 (4), 7N15 (3), 8O15 (3), 8O16 (3).

The game begins with each player being dealt 7 cards. The remaining cards are placed face-down as the stock. Players alternate turns where each selects one or more cards from his/her hand to make possible plays. During a player's turn, the player forms one of the nucleo-synthesis reactions (see list below). The player uses cards in his/her hand, and/or those already on the table (using products of existing reactions) to form the input for new reactions. The output for the reaction is played from the player's hand. The score-keeper records the points for the reaction. Points are determined using the mass of element(s) created from the output of a reaction. Positrons, neutrinos, and energy are all worth one point. At the end of his/her turn, the player draws enough cards from the stock to again have 7 cards. The game is over when all cards from the stock are drawn. The winner is the person with the highest number of points.

Depending on the students' understanding of the nucleo-synthesis reactions, the scorekeeper can also serve as a judge to determine if the reaction actually occurs. The validity of a reaction requires the balancing of charge and mass between the input elements and the resulting output element(s). Students may need to be reminded that when a proton changes into a neutron, a positron is emitted (i.e. 1p+1 --> 1n0 + 0e+1). In addition, whenever an electron or positron is involved in a reaction a neutrino is emitted. If a neutrino is emitted, it carries away the energy. If a neutrino is not involved, then energy (gamma rays) are emitted.

Possible Reactions
1H1 + 1H1 --> 1H2 + e+ + neutrino5B8 --> 4Be8 + e+ + neutrino
1H2 + 1H1 --> 2He3 + energy (fusion)4Be8 --> 2 2He4 + energy
2He3 + 2He3 --> 2He4 + 2 1H1 + energy6C12 + 1H1 --> 7N13 + energy
4 1H1 --> 2He4 + 2 e+ + 2 neutrinos7N13 --> 6C13 + e+ + neutrino
2He3 + 2He4 --> 4Be7 + energy6C13 + 1H1 --> 7N14 + energy
4Be7 + e- --> 3Li7 + neutrino7N14 + 1H1 --> 8O15 + energy
3Li7 + 1H1 --> 2 2He48O15 --> 7N15 + e+ + neutrino
4Be7 + 1H1 --> 5B8 + energy7N15 + 1H1 --> + 6C12 + 2He4

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