Review by Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013


Definitive periodic table with all the bells and whistles

Subjects & skills
  • Science

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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Pros: Easily accessible and plentiful data will satisfy all your elemental needs.

Cons: Might be a bit overwhelming for beginners as it doesn't have any light games or activities.

Bottom Line: You won't need any other once you have probed the depths of this truly complete reference resource.

Ptable could be used in almost any setting, from individual reference to whole-group lecture to small-group research projects. It offers translation into 46 languages, so ELL students will have no difficulty keeping up in class. Lectures comparing element properties come to life through color-coding and temperature and ionization slider bars. Instant lists of compounds for individual elements or any combination of elements are a click away for research or homework. Social studies students can find info and sources on discoveries and scientists embedded in Wikipedia entries, videos, and podcasts. Environmental science teachers might point kids to abundance percentages for Earth's crust, the sun, oceans, meteors, and humans. Though not super glitzy or simplified, in Dayah's own words, Ptable is the one that makes "Mendeleev's creation come alive."

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Ptable's first menu tab sports Wikipedia and definitions, videos from the University of Nottingham, podcasts from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and compelling images of everyday applications -- all accessed by first clicking the menu, then any element of interest. From there, it just gets more data-intensive. In addition to the basics of atomic number, symbol, name, and weight, the 18 groups of elements are clickable across the top. Users can also interactively explore 16 properties and their subproperties through radio buttons and sliders, view images of orbitals, list isotopes, iterate compounds, and more.

Ptable packs a powerful reference punch followed by an advanced ability to manipulate information and seek out more. Starting with basics like atomic weight and moving on to fascinating stuff like abundance in the oceans, you can dive into interpreting color codes, experimenting with dynamic and interactive features, and sampling videos, podcasts, and a video demo of the site presented by owner Michael Dayah (though you definitely come away wishing he had taken it slower). Kids will be entranced by visuals of common items that contain the element -- such as air packs, mica, and welding kits for oxygen, or sushi, canned tuna, and toy mazes for mercury (especially when they learn how dangerous mercury is).

Although games, activities, and the ability to save views are absent, Dayah does orient you in the About section, where he outlines site history, navigation features, sources, search techniques, and troubleshooting tips, plus he accepts questions via email. The sheer volume of information could be a bit overwhelming for newbies, and you might have a little trouble with small text. In the end, Ptable is the periodic table of choice for serious and aspiring young chemists.


Overall Rating

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

It offers plentiful controls, vivid colors, precise text, and nearly limitless choices. Absolute beginners might need less information, and they may long for games, but if you want elemental information, this is the place.

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

The site appeals to a range of learning styles with dynamic interactivity, visuals, and audio. Distinguished sources and references orient older kids to the wide world of chemistry.

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

Forty-six languages makes this table internationally accessible. The ability to save views would be handy, data-wise.

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Donna M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, United States
Facts, videos, and visuals of the elements with just one click!
It is the best online periodic table I have found. Besides the traditional information such as atomic mass and electron configurations,students can click on an element and be taken to Wikipedia to find information or do research. They can click on a video and find out more such as the reactivity of an element or how it is being used in research today. should be part of every student's resources.
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