Review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013
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Periodic Table

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Get familiar with the elements using this effective app

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
8-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Nicely covers the essential data about the periodic table.

Cons: Lack of feedback and scorekeeping is frustrating and could impede learning.

Bottom Line: It's a handy tool for making the rote (some might say boring) parts of science easier to learn.

The clever videos entice users to keep coming back to review the definitions; their usefulness would be further enhanced if they connected to the other content. You could start class with one of these videos each day during a chemistry section; since they're fun and grab students' attention, they could be a nice segue into the other content.

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Periodic Table is an app featuring a database of the periodic table for chemistry students to study. It's designed to help students learn the name, symbol, and atomic weight of each element. No one claims that memorizing the elements is their favorite part of chemistry. But, as part of the lexicon, it's critical info for a basic course, and students need to memorize it like the vocabulary of a second language.

The app is divided into five basic sections: Learn, Table, Lookup, Quiz, and Videos. The Learn section consists of a page for each element, linked to its position on the periodic table. The Quiz tests students on their recall of the information, but it doesn't save scores or provide feedback. The app also includes videos that provide a spoken presentation of basic and useful definitions, from acid to valence. Each element of the periodic table, neatly laid out in the Table section, is linked to a page of data in the Learn section. Each page is filled with the basic data about the element, an option to hear the name pronounced (which can be useful with elements such as dysprosium), and a Wikipedia link. The Lookup section is an internal search engine, also leading to the Learn pages.

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Periodic Table is neither a self-study course nor a supplement for a complete course in chemistry, but what it does, it does well: assisting students in getting a good start and serving as a useful point of reference. During the video sections, the presenter manages to set a tone that is sassy, light, and informative –- a combination that’s likely to encourage students to listen up and explore. It's too bad that these definitions aren't connected to any of the other content. The Quiz section is also limited; it allows for options to pose questions on the names of the elements, the abbreviations, the atomic number, or a random mixture of these categories, but since the app doesn't save scores or narrow the focus to adjust once the user has answered correctly, it can be frustrating.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

A simple-to-use, practical tool, it'll give users extra help in memorizing the foundational data for a beginning chemistry course. Videos add interest to what could otherwise be dry definitions of basic terminology.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Periodic Table helps users memorize the foundational facts of basic chemistry, but it's not very responsive (no scores saved, limited feedback, etc.).

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

This intuitive and user-friendly app needs no special menus for navigation. Each quiz is scored, but there's no tracking of the data for later review. The videos are available in five languages in addition to English.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
tbrown231 , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
4
Easy to use and contains lots of information.

This app takes pages of information about the elements and puts it into one place. In the past I have asked students to look up atomic information from home using a website or the Reference Table provided to them in class. It often takes them awhile to find all the information they need since it is spread out over several pages or websites. This app replaced the computer and reference table in my classroom. I like the ease that my students have in navigating this app. I am still finding new ways to use this app in my classroom.

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