The question of where the fictional Vb metal should be placed allows the students to think critically about the arrangement of the periodic table. In general chemistry courses, when we discuss electron configurations, we tell the students there are simply two anomalies, Cu and Cr, because of the stability of half-filled and filled subshells. (In more advanced courses students learn the truth that there are far more exceptions than Cu and Cr!) This discussion allows students to be creative and build on their knowledge base of the periodic table. Students do not typically think beyond the seventh row of the periodic table or the possibility of electrons filling the 6f and 5g subshells. This activity is really asking one key question: What happens when we begin to fill the eighth period of the periodic table?
Furthermore, the movie Black Panther also provides a unique opportunity to address the roles of women and people of color in the STEM disciplines. King T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri leads research and development advances for Wakanda. Thus, Shuri, played by actress Letitia Wright, is a shining example for the next generation of STEM leaders
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