Here’s a great bit of one-stop-shopping for quick projects or research in basic chemistry. WebElements has put together virtually everything you need to know about the periodic table all in one interactive site. Simply click on an element’s symbol from the periodic table on their homepage and be taken to the specific information you’re looking for.
Students can choose from the following categories for study about their element:
- The essentials – basic overview information
- History – the discovery (or creation) of the element
- Uses – various ways the element is used not only in chemistry but also in other applications
- Geology – how abundant is the element and where can it be found?
- Biology – the biological role of the element and the level of the element found in humans
- Physics – melting points, boiling points, densities, etc.
- Chemistry – how does the element react with acids, bases, the air, etc.?
- Compounds – what compounds include the element and, in some cases, the standard reduction is included.
- Pictures – what does the element actually look like in nature?
- More in-depth study topics including the electronegativity, bond empathies, atom and ion sizes, isotopes and more of the elements.
You and your students can use this site in a variety of ways:
Have them “adopt an element” and create a poster or presentation with various facts about the properties of the element, the history of the element, and include photos of the element alone and in compounds. You can even translate the name of the element into 8 different languages here!
Other, more advanced students, will be able to bookmark the site and use the more detailed pages to see research conducted and data provided on the physical and chemical properties of all 118 elements. Of course, as science is ever changing, some of the rarest of the elements have less information than others, but every page is fully researched and documented with footnotes for further research.
You can use this in your lessons to supplement instruction through the photos provided and interactive tables found in the physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics subsections, for example.
My only major complaint about this site is their over-reliance on what can be obtrusive ads. While all are school appropriate and try to have something in common with the elements’ pages they are on, the layout of these can be confusing and a little obtrusive for students. I found installing a simple ad blocker add-on to your browser (I use AdBlock Plus for Chrome) solved this problem immediately.