Each week, the Education World Great Sites for Teaching About ... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. Students at every level need to understand that chemistry is all around us. This week's sites are among the best on the Web for learning about chemistry.
Chem4Kids is designed for elementary students and covers such topics as Matter, Atoms, Elements, and Reactions. The cartoonish graphics, succinct explanations, and audio pronunciations of unfamiliar words make the site attractive to the target audience. Tie-ins to larger concepts, such as the periodic table, make Chem4Kids a natural for teachers who want to expand their instruction.
- Chemistry Functions
This collection of engines helps make chemistry calculations easier. For example, at Molar Conversions, users calculate molar mass and conversions from moles to particles and grams to moles. At the Periodic Table, place the cursor over any element and immediately view the name, symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass for the element. The page is under construction and is "optimized for Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later."
- Conversion of Units
Are you ready to move on to more advanced chemistry topics? Are some students still stuck on temperature conversions? The Institute of Chemistry at the Free University of Berlin presents this online tool that converts temperatures between Kelvin, Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Reaumur. Just type in the temperature and select the desired scale from the drop-down menu; the conversion is complete in an instant. The page also offers conversion tools for currency and an extensive list of units. This site is definitely "bookmarkable."
Nanyang Technological University in Singapore presents a second compendium of chemistry resources on the World Wide Web for researchers, educators, and students. Useful sections of this site include Global Directories, Search Engines, Software, Reference Materials, and much more. Teaching Resources for a variety of chemistry subjects are listed. Although they are "intended for tertiary level teaching, the introductory materials and some of the interactive applications may be creatively adapted by chemistry teachers for use in the classroom."
"Everything a high school student needs to know about chemistry is at this site in a fun, imaginative, comprehensive presentation that catches the eye." This ThinkQuest entry strives to be "a virtual chemistry textbook, to provide an interactive guide for high school chemistry students." It assumes little, beginning with tutorials on symbols, formulae, measurements, and dimensional analysis. The site also offers plenty of higher-level applications on atomic structure and bonding, thermal dynamics, electrochemistry, and nuclear reactions.
- Comic Book Periodic Table
Are you looking for a hook that will really get kids interested in the periodic table of elements? The University of Kentucky offers this eye-catching contender, the Periodic Table of Comic Books. Click on any element on the virtual table and immediately open the browser to a listing of classic comic book issues featuring that element/hero! Click on the symbol in the upper left-hand corner and go to the Web Elements table. It offers all kinds of basic information, audio and text descriptions, and a summary of the element in isolation.
- Delights of Chemistry
Presented by the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, Delights of Chemistry is a collection of three dozen experiments and demonstrations, two photo libraries of more than 500 images, and animated GIFs, all designed to augment the good work secondary teachers already do! The animations of chemical phenomenon are video clips from the Leeds labs. This site is definitely worth your time.
Joe Eck maintains only the highest quality materials on this site, which covers background, classes, links, and resources about superconductors. Excellent for high school and secondary students, topics include the history, uses, and types of superconductors. Advanced students can make use of Atypical Superconductors and the Future and Terminology and the Naming Scheme. Can I play, Too? is a list of sources for kits and materials to experiment with superconductors. The list of links will keep your class busy for hours as students dig deeper into the topic!
- The pH Factor
The Miami Museum of Science presents this in-depth look at pH and its implications for chemistry. Explore takes users to a clickable pH scale that shows the acidity of different common items. Explain, Expand, and Extend offer elementary-level activities. Links to lesson plans help teachers integrate the site into classroom instruction. The Teacher's Guide offers direction for applying the pH factor and the seven E's to the classroom.
- Polymers: They're Everywhere!
Although this is a highly specialized topic, the Ed World editors wanted to include it because it is so well done. This National Geographic site takes students through a tour of polymers, both natural and human-made. Polymers is designed for upper-elementary and middle school students, and each section has an interactive component designed to keep kids involved in learning more. The site could be a great discussion-starter for chemistry studies; check out the Hands on Plastics curriculum.
Article by Walter McKenzie
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