Join Aaron Quigley for an in-depth discussion in this video The Elements: A Visual Exploration, part of iPad Apps for Educators.
Imagine handing your students the Periodic Table of Elements, and having them be so engaged with it, that they spend hours looking at it. That's exactly what the Elements application by Theodore Gray offers. I absolutely love this application because of the way that it brings the elements to life for students. For example, lets go and take a look at gold. I'm going to click on gold on this periodic table. When it brings it up, the first thing students notice is they can see an actual 3D image of what the element looks like. Here as I'm looking at gold. I can see a small gold nugget is spinning on the screen. Students also have the ability to put their finger on the screen and choose to move the gold nugget around and they can inspect it at their own rate.
On the right hand side, we also have a variety of information about this particular element. I can quickly see it's electron shell configuration, as well as its crystal structure. Below that, I have a box with additional information, such as it's atomic radius, it's boiling in melting points, and the electronegativity. Students can click the small geometric icon in the very bottom right hand corner of the screen. And here you can bring up a variety of information. Now to use this information, you do have to have an active Internet connection and it's going to allow students to quickly go through and find information about the element. My students love looking at the current commodity price for elements.
For example, each troy ounce of gold right now costs $1333.90. This is updated real time and even throughout the day, students can go back in and check the commodity price and see that it's changing. As students scroll through these pages, there's a lot of information about these individual elements. They can use this information in order to better understand the element as well as it's reactivity with other elements. I'm going to go ahead and click the Done button in the upper left hand corner to close this box. Now all the elements have some kind of picture to help depict that element. Sometimes elements are shown in the state of what they're actually used for, for example, if I click on zinc I can see that it shows me something known as a zinc.
Zincs are used on boats, because they are a softer metal they'll oxidize faster. That way they'll the hold of the boat will start eating away at the zinc before it starts eating away at the steel. And if a student would like more information on a picture, or even a video that's being used to display the element, they can always click on it and make it full screen. Here, if there's notes that go along with that particular element, they can bring those notes up to understand why this particular picture is being used to represent this element. Not every element has the ability to be represented with a photograph. For example, you can see that the noble gases are being represented with neon signs. In addition, sometimes elements are represented by the people that developed them.
For example, if I click on element 99, I can see that Einsteinium is being represented by a picture of Einstein. As students move through this periodic table, students can understand not only what the elements are, but also how they're used. It's a great way to engage students in understanding the periodic table. A word of caution, this particular application does take up about two gigs of space on an iPad. It also costs around $14, but it's money well spent if it gets your students engaged in learning about the periodic table.