the ChemEd Digital Library
the National Science Foundation
This interactive resource allows learners to explore a broad range of information about the elements and their reactions, properties, structures, and histories. Click on any element to view its description, physical properties, and selected properties of its atomic structure. There are images of each element, and Quicktime videos that show reactions among common elements. Click on "Crystal Structures" to see 3D crystal configurations in Java Applet format. This resource has the added feature of displaying elements in tabs at the top of the web page, enabling learners to compare various elements without toggling among different windows or browser tabs.
Please note that this resource requires
Java Applet Plug-in, or
Editor's Note: Click on Graph/Table for an especially useful tool. There, various numerical and chemical properties such as thermal conductivity and density can be plotted as a function of atomic number. These graphs make the "periodic" nature of the periodic table much clearer, with the repeating patterns obvious to the eye.
3D crystal structure, chemical reactions, chemistry videos, crystal structure, elements, illustrated elements, interactive periodic table
Metadata instance created
July 12, 2011
by Caroline Hall
October 11, 2013
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
April 24, 2009
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
4D. The Structure of Matter
6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
6-8: 4D/M1b. The atoms of any element are like other atoms of the same element, but are different from the atoms of other elements.
6-8: 4D/M1cd. Atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
6-8: 4D/M5. Chemical elements are those substances that do not break down during normal laboratory reactions involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or reaction with acids. All substances from living and nonliving things can be broken down to a set of about 100 elements, but since most elements tend to combine with others, few elements are found in their pure form.
6-8: 4D/M6a. There are groups of elements that have similar properties, including highly reactive metals, less-reactive metals, highly reactive nonmetals (such as chlorine, fluorine, and oxygen), and some almost completely nonreactive gases (such as helium and neon).
6-8: 4D/M10. A substance has characteristic properties such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the substance and can be used to identify it.
6-8: 4D/M11. Substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances with different characteristic properties.
6-8: 4D/M12. If samples of both the original substances and the final substances involved in a chemical reaction are broken down, they are found to be made up of the same set of elements.
9-12: 4D/H2. The number of protons in the nucleus determines what an atom's electron configuration can be and so defines the element. An atom's electron configuration, particularly the outermost electrons, determines how the atom can interact with other atoms. Atoms form bonds to other atoms by transferring or sharing electrons.
9-12: 4D/H3. Although neutrons have little effect on how an atom interacts with other atoms, the number of neutrons does affect the mass and stability of the nucleus. Isotopes of the same element have the same number of protons (and therefore of electrons) but differ in the number of neutrons.
9-12: 4D/H6. When elements are listed in order by the masses of their atoms, the same sequence of properties appears over and over again in the list.
9-12: 4D/H7a. Atoms often join with one another in various combinations in distinct molecules or in repeating three-dimensional crystal patterns.
4G. Forces of Nature
9-12: 4G/H3. Most materials have equal numbers of protons and electrons and are therefore electrically neutral. In most cases, a material acquires a negative charge by gaining electrons and acquires a positive charge by losing electrons. Even a tiny imbalance in the number of protons and electrons in an object can produce noticeable electric forces on other objects.
Next Generation Science Standards
Matter and Its Interactions (HS-PS1)
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms. (HS-PS1-1)
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Structure and Properties of Matter (PS1.A)
Each pure substance has characteristic physical and chemical properties (for any bulk quantity under given conditions) that can be used to identify it. (6-8)
Each atom has a charged substructure consisting of a nucleus, which is made of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons. (9-12)
The periodic table orders elements horizontally by the number of protons in the atom's nucleus and places those with similar chemical properties in columns. The repeating patterns of this table reflect patterns of outer electron states. (9-12)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Macroscopic patterns are related to the nature of microscopic and atomic-level structure. (6-8)
Graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. (6-8)
Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
Analyze and interpret data to determine similarities and differences in findings. (6-8)
Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to identify linear and nonlinear relationships. (6-8)
Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
Analyze data using computational models in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)
Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
Use mathematical or computational representations of phenomena to describe explanations. (9-12)
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Particles and Interactions and the Standard Model Unit Title: Elements and the Periodic Table
This resource has the added feature of displaying elements in tabs at the top of the web page. It is quite easy for learners to compare various elements without toggling among different windows or browser tabs. Click on any element to view physical properties, atomic structure, background information, and images. Selected elements feature videos that show reactions among common elements.
%0 Electronic Source %D April 24, 2009 %T Periodic Table Live! %E Moore, John %I ChemEd Digital Library %V 2013 %N 9 December 2013 %8 April 24, 2009 %9 text/html %U http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/
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