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Elements in the 21st Century

Do you love science? Here is a competition for you that combines chemistry and creativity!

Chemical elements are the building blocks of our world. They are pure substances, which can’t be separated into simpler substances and make up everything, including us! Many elements are essential in our 21st century lives and are used in modern technology, industry and medicine, as well as in our homes.

Discover the world of elements in this new competition for school aged students. Investigate the elements, choose your favourite and create an artwork on paper which shows how your element is used in the 21st century. Post your entry to ANSTO to go in the running for a great prize pack!

All winning entries will be displayed in a digital gallery and at ANSTO.

The Elements in the 21st Century competition has now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. A summary of the competition and the winning entries can be seen on our Elements in the 21st Century summary and results page.

Who can enter?

Primary and high school students, from all grades across Australia are invited to enter. This fun creative activity can be completed at home or at school. Teachers are also invited to enter their classes or individual students.


Competition Dates

Competition opens:        Thursday 28 March 2024.

Competition closes:        Friday 3 May 2024.

Winners announced:      Monday 20 May 2024.

How to Enter

There are 118 known elements listed on the periodic table of the elements (PDF, 1.6 MB). Choose your favourite element and research the important uses of your element in the 21st century. There is great information available from many sources including online or in books!

After learning about your element, create a periodic table square ‘tile’ for your chosen element, on a 21 cm by 21 cm square piece of paper (PDF, 271.08 KB) or thin cardboard. Be creative and showcase your element. Show us how your element is useful in today's world.

Technecium poster

On the front: You must show the element name, the symbol (the ‘short name’ with 1-2 letters) and your drawing or painting, showing the element’s use in our modern world. Also include the ‘atomic number’ of the element – this is the whole number shown above the name and symbol of each element on the periodic table.

On the back: You must glue the Entry Form (PDF, 381.83 KB). This must be filled out with your details and using your own words, you must also tell us how your element is used in the 21st century!

Mail your element artwork to ANSTO.

Elements entry form (PDF, 381.83 KB)


Entries must arrive at ANSTO by Friday 3 May.

Post entries to:

Elements Competition

C/- ANSTO Discovery Centre (B65)

New Illawarra Road



Terms and Conditions

Only one entry from each student is allowed.

The entry must be created entirely by the student.

Artworks must be created on paper or thin card measuring 21 cm by 21 cm (PDF, 271.08 KB). No other sizes are allowed.

Artworks must be created by hand using pencils, marker pens, textas, or paint. Artworks can also be created with digital drawing software and printed on paper, but no published web images can be included in entries.

Original artworks on paper or thin card must be posted to ANSTO. Scanned copies or printed photos of artworks will not be accepted.

Entries must arrive at ANSTO by post on or before the closing date.

Entries will not be returned, as they will be used in displays at ANSTO.


The winning entry in primary (K-6) and secondary (7-12) will each receive an elements themed prize pack (PDF, 299.05 KB) worth over $200.

Four runners up (two in primary and two in secondary) will each receive a set of ANSTO atom family ‘plushies’.

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Do you have a question?

Send an email to Stephanie McCready and Kim Whitbread at if you have any questions about the Elements Competition.