Urban Teaching Resources: © Shawn Urban 04/07/12. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Page for Teachers and Discussion
•• Page for Students ••
|Elements in the Cosmic Stack||Each element contains one unique type of atom. Each atom in turn has unique properties related to its ground energy state and electron configuration. We map different electron configurations and ground energy states on a periodic table.|
This page contains links and resources that unpack and explain the organization of elements in the Periodic Table and the properites of elements based on their electron configurations. This page is meant as a resource to clarify and enrich your introduction of the periodic table to your students.
1. Periodic Table
I can not recommend Michael Dayah's dynamic Ptable enough (demo). It is the best periodic table rendering out there and a great resource where almost anything periodic and elemental can be learned. Similar sites, with less information, are Chemicool's, Spectrum's and ChemEd DL's periodic tables.
For further information on elements, a Periodic Table of Videos, a QR Periodic Table of Videos and TED-Ed Periodic Videos offer videos illustrating the elements and their behaviours through empirical experiments. And Chemistry in its Element - Periodic Table of Element Podcasts and QR-Coded Audio Periodic Table of the Elements: A Mobile-Learning Tool offer podcasts from scientists describing each element. The Open University also has videos on chemistry, elemental chemistry and the science behind explosive alkali-water interactions.
Your kids into comics? Well, there is a Period Table of Comic Books too. And of course, who could forget Bill Nye, who talks about the atoms and the Periodic Table in the first 1:42 minutes of one of his episodes. And then change your students' perspectives in the Hogwarts Houses of the Periodic Elements: A Critical Analysis.
To show students that this is not the only periodic table that ever existed, The Internet Database of Periodic Tables shows all the periodic tables ever made from Ancient times to today (literally). And the Periodic Table Timeline traces the history of the building of the periodic table.
2. Atomic Nature
Brian Cox does a great job explaining the history of our understanding of the atom and the make-up of the Universe in the first 8.5 (up to 8:27) minutes of this video.
3. Energy States and Orbitals
Energy states and orbitals really confuse students and it all has to do with our insistence on "orbitting" or "ringing" electrons around atom nuclei (a much out-dated model of the atom). I recommend four sites: Energy State and Atomic Orbitals, Schrödinger's Atom, a Rotating Tetrahedron (to illustrate the Pauli Exclusion Principle and Hund's Rule) and What Atomic Orbitals Look Like.
4. Electron Filling and Configuration
Again, students have a hard time visualizing energy shells, sub-shells and electron configurations. This stems from
Several of the previous sites explain or illustrate these concepts. In addition, Electronic Configuration of Elements and How do I read an electron configuration table? offer more information. And finally, here is a table of electron configurations.
5. Periodic Table Puzzles and Games
There are several sites and applications that offer puzzles and games to help students learn the periodic table. Seven of these can be found in a periodic table puzzle and periodic table games here (free), here (free) and here (cost).
6. Music Videos
John Boswell, creator of Symphony of Science, has compiled two videos and one audiocast about atoms and quanta which students love: The Quantum World, We Are All Connected and The Cosmic Dance (Mindwalk Remix).
Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table offers an in-depth explanation of the elements and periodic table. Hydrogen Atom in Scale shows students just what an atom looks like to scale (lots of empty space). Bill Nye explains the scale another way (4:35—6:36...7:22). The Solar System in Scale and The Scale of the Universe show the scale of the Universe in the other direction.
Bill Nye discusses matter and energy from 5:44—6:59.
You may wish to dig deeper into the atom to learn more about quanta or sub-atomic particles. Take an interactive tour of these particles that also discusses the atom. Watch this entertaining animation to learn about the Higgs boson and its significance. Laugh at the recent Higgs boson discovery. And learn how the Higgs boson explains our universe, but not your students' masses.
Brian Cox also explains the fundamental forces in A Crash Course In Particle Physics: Forces (27:05).
Isotopes in the Solar System shows the newly discovered composition of isotopes in the Solar System, showing that yes atoms and isotopes are important in post-school careers and real life. Consider also the Earth's aurora.
And finally, for a history and the meaning of the element names, see Origins of Element Names, five of which — darmstadtium (110, Ds), roentgenium (111, Rg), copernicium (112, Cn), flerovium (114, Fl) and livermorium (116, Lv) — were newly named in 2011, leaving only four "known" elements currently unnamed. The Latino language option of the Ptable illustrates the origin of the element symbols, as explained in the Ptable's demo (1:27...1:30—1:33).
This page is related to Twelve Lead Pencils that illustrates the concept of moles by use of peas. I also wrote a post, About Atoms and Mole Hills, in my blog, Digital Substitute, about using the periodic table. It contains the preceding links with explanations about atoms, moles, elements and the periodic table.