1 week after the Dragons’ Den (originally published Dec 21st)

In the week since CBC aired our visit with the dragons, the positive response has been overwhelming.   The Telegraph Journal was kind enough to do a follow up article. People have been emailing, tweeting, Facebook commenting and buying games and we’ve been blown away that so many people feel the same way we do about the Rare Earth Game.

Frank in Quebec wrote:

“I saw Dragon’s Den this week, and IMO, I’ve never seen anyone miss the boat worse than they did. They completely let their loathing and fear of learning chemistry destroy all of their business sense.

Looking at your website, it is clear to me you have a plan, and a terrific looking product. The merchandising and on-line spinoff potential alone could make this little "game" a huge financial success, if you play your cards right.”

Christie-Anne in Alberta wrote:

“I watched your pitch on the Dragons Den program that aired on Wednesday.  I strongly feel you were treated with great disrespect and injustice.  It was heartbreaking to watch such a fantastic concept be torn down like that.  I am writing to let you know that you conducted yourselves with amazing grace and poise.  I believe in your concept and product.  Also your influence extends past the positive benefits of your product.  With your pitch you also inspired and motivated other inventors.  You demonstrated how to professionally pitch a product, and how not to lose your cool when attacked…”

Amy in New Brunswick wrote:

“…They didn’t seem to get the idea and concept of the game on Dragon’s Den and how simple it is to play.  I can’t wait for the storybook. …”

Marie-France in PEI wrote:

“Your game is such an awesome idea and I really hope it will continue to grow in popularity and sales.  I usually agree with the Dragons, but I really think they got it wrong in this case.  I look forward to seeing you in the future in the segment where they show the people who did really well, despite the Dragons rejection of their idea.   🙂  Good Luck and keep at it.  I look forward to seeing your game and playing it with my daughter.”

A student in New Brunswick wrote to suggest:

“…send a sample to the TV show The Big Bang Theory.   The impact of having Sheldon playing the game would be enormous.”

(Good idea!  We’ll have to figure out where to send a game.)

Peter in Ontario wrote:

“…I have two kids, 6 and 8, that are already big fans of the periodic table.  I know they’ll love the game…  I saw your segment on Dragon’s Den and was impressed, both by what you’ve created and by how you presented it.  But I must say I was surprised and disappointed by the Dragons’ reaction.  It’s as if they were somehow proud of their anti-intellectual bias.  It’s too bad for them.  And hopefully there are enough people that can counter that view and keep feeding our kids’ thirst for learning.”

Jennifer in Nova Scotia wrote:

“We believed the Dragons missed the boat, and it seems a lot of other folks felt that way, too. Best of luck, and we’re looking forward to trying out the game.”

Stephanie in Ontario wrote:

“…  We COMPLETELY disagree with the Dragons and came online to buy the game right away.  We read the few pages of the storybook and loved it as well…we’re hoping it will be completed and available for purchase soon.

…  I think you are absolutely correct that people’s fear of chemistry, math and exams prevents them from being open to combining learning with fun.  As parents, we are THRILLED to encounter geniuses like you who have combined learning in a way that is engaging for children. …

Thank you for creating this game and for presenting it on Dragon’s Den where we had the opportunity to find out about it…  …There are so many books and games being published and distributed that are not contributing useful learning or skills for our kids!

From the bottom of my chemistry loving heart…as a Ontario Chemistry Olympiad Top 10, Founder of my high school chemistry club and former chemistry tutor (through high school and university)…THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! 

We can’t wait to receive the game!  I will be buying more copies after we test it out to send to all my former chemistry club friends…who are now all accomplished scientists and health professionals with children of their own…can’t wait!”

Schools, stores and families across the country fell in love with the Rare Earth Game last Wednesday night.  It has been a wonderful whirlwind of a week as the emails, comments and orders kept coming in.

We want to thank everyone who wrote to us and everyone who purchased a game.  We especially want to thank Science Kit and Boreal Laboratories who took care of all the online orders for games – we couldn’t have handled it without you!

Happy Holidays to all and if you have a question about game-play during the holidays, don’t hesitate to contact jim@rareearthgame.com.

Jim MacDonald and Rick Gowan
Co-inventors of The Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game


Science Teacher develops innovative new use for Rare Earth Game cards.

I recently had a conversation by telephone with Ed Piva, a teacher in Linwood, Ontario. Ed told me that a few weeks ago, in the last week of school before Christmas, he taught the introductory materials science lesson to his grade 8 class. The following day. a student, Johnny, brought in a Rare Earth Game to show him.

It turns out that Johnny had purchased the game online after watching the Dragons’ Den episode on CBC on December 14th. Having not had the chance to review the rules to the game, Ed saw a teachable moment in the cards and asked Johnny if he could distribute the cards amongst the students and Johnny agreed.

Ed then explained to the students that they should take on the character of the chemical element card they received and introduce themselves around the room to their fellow students, describing the properties they found on the card. He then asked them questions like, “who is a metal?” and “who is a non-metal” and hands shot up around the room.

Ed then asked them to go around the room looking for elements with which they had familial relationships as indicated on the cards. Some cards have “cousin,” “brother” or “sister” elements (indicating that they are usually found together) and some elements are members of “families” (like the Nitrogen or the Calcogen “family”).

Ed said that the students all had a great time and learned a great deal about the periodic table of elements in a single lesson. Rick and I are thrilled that Ed came up with an entirely new way to teach with the Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game – a way to learn even before anyone learns how to play by the rules.

Our hats are off to Ed Piva for his creativity in the classroom. We’re hoping other teachers will send us tales of their classroom experiences and creative use of the cards.

Thanks, Ed!

I’d also like to mention that Ed Piva is an innovative teacher who writes and records rap music that teaches science principles for middle school students. You can visit his Website at http://www.sciencevolution.com. His music is also available on iTunes.com. Very cool.

If you have a story about your classroom and the Rare Earth Game, we’d love to hear it.
Email Jim@RareEarthGame.com or post a comment on the Facebook page.

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After the Dragons’ Den (originally published Dec 15th, 2011)

In the 24 hours since we landed in the crucible known as the Dragons’ Den, we’ve had a lot of wonderful feedback but the best was from Patti in Ontario who wrote about Chemistry: “Unlike the dragons, I’m not afraid.” Neither were we. That’s how we ended up on the Dragons’ Den this past May with barely a month of sales behind us. Now that the segment has aired, we’re allowed to talk about it – but we’ll let the Rare Earth game’s new fans talk for us:

Anne in Hamilton wrote:
“When my son was 8 all the parents at his school wondered why the games couldn’t be made to contain useful, accurate, information.”

Geneve in BC wrote:
I just saw your episode on Dragon’s Den. I usually agree with the Dragons, but have to wholeheartedly disagree with them in your case. I am one of those adults that has always been intimidated by chemistry and feel that a game that gives kids the opportunity to learn about it BEFORE they learn to fear it is genius!”

Michelle in Ontario wrote:
“… My 12 year old daughter watched the show with me, and loved the idea of the game. When she heard the feedback you received, she looked at me and said that the Dragons had it wrong. She thinks the game sounds very interesting – and would be a great way to learn the ‘patriotic table,’ lol.” Michelle continues that her daughter… “was on her laptop while watching the show, and immediately googled your game. As I type this email, she is perusing your website and trying to figure it all out. She is very interested in the game and in entering your contest to draw a new card!”

Nenja in Edmonton commented on Facebook:
“Very upset to see the Dragons response. I thought the game was great. These are the types of games that we as adults should offer our children so Chemistry isn’t as scary and difficult as The Dragons thought it was. I would love this game for myself as I was a very photographic, psychomotor learner which could have used some of the analogies you used via the game.”

Chris in Ontario wrote:
“Don’t listen to those bull-headed Dragons.
Anyone with a science ambition would love this.”

Mike in London, ON wrote:
“… We have an 8 year old and a 5 year old that know the first 40 elements and have alot of fun naming them. They thought your idea was a great one…”

Oscar in Washington state wrote:
“I have to disagree with the Dragons- this is a great idea for students trying to remember some of the rules of chemistry.”

Noura commented on our Facebook Page
"Your game is awesome! The dragons don’t know what they’re talking about on this one! Great job, awesome idea! If kids can memorize all the info on Pokemon or whatever kinds of useless cards then why not your cool characters and actually learn something at the same time!"

Harry, a teacher in Ontario, wrote:
“…build a foundation, and just maybe you’ll help tens of thousands of young people understand chemistry… and that, my friend, is significant payment of a different kind!”

We’ve heard anecdotes about university and high school students yelling at their television screens, up in arms against the Dragons’ opinion of Chemistry.

Best of all our Web site is getting 1000% more visits and our retailers, Boreal Northwest and the Dragons’ Den shop are all selling games.

Thursday evening, I called the Geek Chic Boutique in Fredericton, NB on the suggestion of a few girls who are students at the school where Rare Earth Game co-inventor, Rick Gowan, teaches. I began my cold call with Florence Hansen, the owner, and Florence instantly started talking as if we were already doing business. Florence said "the dragons are nuts" and the explained that… 2 hours prior to my cold call she had sent me a fax order for 24 games! LOL!

The feedback and attention that the Dragons’ Den has brought our new game has been tremendous and we are very grateful that our segment was chosen to air during the “holiday episode”. It’s a great kickstart for the Rare Earth Game going into 2012 and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

Rick and I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who have been so encouraging!

Happy Holidays to all!

Jim MacDonald and Rick Gowan
Co-inventors of The Rare Earth Chemical Element Card Game

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