We didn’t have the World Wide Web and its umpteen resources back in the good ol’ days. So, I started my hunt for learning resources that would help her defeat Dmitri Mendeleev’s creation in an ‘atomic war’. I didn’t have to go far because Google Chrome gave me three apps and extensions to try out. The other two online resources comprised a game and a multimedia showcase of the periodic table.
The five different ways to master the periodic table are a big help to tackle a difficult topic with at least a smidgen of fun.
The Trio of Google Chrome Extensions…
Once you launch the app, it opens up in a separate tab. The periodic table is color coded and each element on it is clickable. Clicking on each element reveals their chemical properties in the table below. The properties displayed range from atomic number and weight to number of isotopes and half-life. At first glance, I was disappointed by the relative static nature of this period table as it is something you can find in a chemistry text book. The ad in the middle was also bit of an eyesore. But its utility comes in when you use it as a quick reference.
Periodic Table of Elements (from Kmedia-Khrome)
This periodic table is a ‘namesake’ but is visually more appealing. But it is also not as informative as the previous one. Groups are color demarcated. You can also use it as a quick reference by opening it in pop-up or clicking on the full-screen mode. You can view the table even if you are offline.
This is a periodic table to which you can add the moniker of “fun”. The app opens up in an attractive interface with an animated element and its swirling electrons. Each element is unique and as you explore the periodic table, you can see that each has a distinct “personality”. You can use your mouse to move the element around and watch as it changes expressions. Of course, this is a learning app, so the basic chemical information like atomic number, atomic weight, number of electrons and protons, and the group it is classified in, are shown. You can click on the name of the element to bring up the periodic table and choose another element with a click. It is simple and could be just right to pique the interest of a child who is just starting out with periodic tables.
The Duo of Online Tools…
The free online games based on the periodic table are multi-level; you have to progress through six levels of difficulty from Learning to Master. The learner’s level is where you simply click on the element’s square and learn about it. The final Master’s level is where you have to ferret out the element with a particular atomic weight.
If you really want to dive into the periodic table and cover it from multiple angles, you should Ptable some of your study time. This cool tool gives you comprehensive info on the elements using photos, Wikipedia entries, videos, podcasts, and a really cool interactive table that also displays atomic structure and isotopes.
I am sure there are quite a few more resources out there. But maybe these would go a long way in making your child take up chemistry as a major or at least develop an abiding interest. Tell us your take on these learning and educational tools. Do they help to bolster textbook learning?
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons