Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some Fun and Handy Chemistry Resources

This post is completely inspired by my brother in-law Dr. Nathan Hnatiuk who teaches Organic Chemistry at Cedarville University. Nate just posted a fun organic chemistry rap video on his Facebook page and I thought it was worth passing along to others. The video is embedded below.

You might also like this AP Chemistry rap video.

And here are five resources for helping students learn the Periodic Table.

Glaxo Smith Kline's Active Science offers fifteen interactive games covering a range of science topics. The Interactive Periodic Table is a game designed to help chemistry students practice identification of the elements. To play the game students are given some clues about an element's properties. Using those clues the student has to place the element in the correct place on the table.

The Elements is an interactive periodic table on which students can click an element and learn about that element. Clicking on an element describes all of the element's properties and the common uses of that element. If students just need a snap shot of information, simply placing their cursor on an element reveals a snap shot of information at the top of the page.

The Periodic Table of Videos is produced by The University of Nottingham. The table features a video demonstration of the characteristics of each element in the table. Each element in the Periodic Table displayed on the home page is linked to a video. The videos are hosted on YouTube, but don't worry The University of Nottingham provides an alternative server through which you should be able to view the videos.

The Periodic Table of Comic Books is a project of the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky. The idea is that for every element in the Periodic Table of Elements there is a comic book reference. Clicking on an element in the periodic table displayed on the homepage will take visitors to a list and images of comic book references to that particular element. After looking at the comic book reference if visitors want more information about a particular element they can find it by using the provided link to Web Elements.

The Dynamic Periodic Table is a good resource for science teachers and their students. The Dynamic Periodic Table works like this, click on an element and a window will pop up to tell you more detailed information about that element. The pop up windows cover properties, orbitals, isotopes and more. There are even links to more information, like the history of each element, for each element. If this had been around when I took chemistry, I might have done a little better.

Activities for Introducing Google Tools to Teachers and Students

I've mentioned my favorite resources PD site in the past. This evening I would like to point out that this month I added some new resources to it. Now if you visit my PD site you will find a series of activities that you can use to introduce teachers and students to various Google tools including Google Sites, Blogger, Advanced Search, Google Maps, Books, Bookmarks, Google Docs, and Google Groups. Feel free to use and adapt the activities I've outlined the next time you're introducing teachers or students to these helpful Google tools.

Bad News - The Week in Rap Is No Longer a Free Service

For the last couple of years I have promoted Flocabulary's weekly video series The Week in Rap as a nice little resource for current events lessons. Unfortunately, I've just learned that Flocabulary is now going to start charging $5/month to access the videos. They also are now promising to include some activities and quizzes to go along with the video.

I don't think I'll spend the money for a subscription because CNN Student News provides the same thing (minus the rap music) for free on a daily basis. But if you're interested, Flocabulary is offering a free trial subscription so you can evaluate it before buying it.

Conceptboard - A Collaborative Whiteboard Space

There are many ways for teams of students to collaborate online and here's another promising one. Conceptboard is a service that provides an online whiteboard space that you can use to share drawings, documents, spreadsheets, and more. You can create drawings and diagrams from scratch or upload an existing file that you have. You can invite as many people as you want to have an online conversation about whatever is shared on the whiteboard. Notes can be pinned to specific items on the whiteboard so that there is not any confusion about what each note is related to. Conceptboard is designed to work on your iPad without installing any separate apps.

Watch the short video below to learn more and see Conceptboard in action.

Applications for Education
Conceptboard, like similar services such as Scribblar, could be a good tool for providing students with short online tutorials and explanations of concepts. Students could use Conceptboard for online peer tutoring or peer editing. For group work, Conceptboard could be used by students for brainstorming sessions.