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published by the ChemEd Digital Library
edited by John Moore
supported by 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 Quicktime.
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.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
General Physics
- Properties of Matter
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
= Atomic Models
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
= Model
= Tutorial
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
Chemical Education Digital Library
3D crystal structure, chemical reactions, chemistry videos, crystal structure, elements, illustrated elements, interactive periodic table
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created July 12, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
October 11, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
April 24, 2009

Love the

Author: Mary Salit
Posted: March 10, 2012 at 7:10AM

The best part of this site is the ability to plot various chemical and physical properties against atomic number and against each other in the "graphs/tables"section.  It allows students to see clear patterns in nature, patterns which demand some kind of explanation in terms of what atoms are actually made of. For this reason, the graphs are an excellent aid to understanding and motivation for the fundamental ideas of modern physics and chemistry. They are probably best used with some teacher guidance, since the interface is not completely self explanatory, but they might make this the most valuable of the several "periodic table" websites cataloged in The Physics Front.

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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)

Patterns (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)

NGSS 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.

Link to Unit:
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AIP Format
, edited by J. Moore (ChemEd Digital Library, Madison, 1995), WWW Document, (http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/).
Periodic Table Live!, , edited by J. Moore (ChemEd Digital Library, Madison, 1995), <http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/>.
APA Format
Moore, J. (Ed.). (2009, April 24). Periodic Table Live!. Retrieved January 20, 2017, from ChemEd Digital Library: http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/
Chicago Format
Moore, John, ed. Periodic Table Live!. Madison: ChemEd Digital Library, April 24, 2009. http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/ (accessed 20 January 2017).
MLA Format
Moore, John, ed. Periodic Table Live!. Madison: ChemEd Digital Library, 1995. 24 Apr. 2009. National Science Foundation. 20 Jan. 2017 <http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Periodic Table Live!}, Publisher = {ChemEd Digital Library}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {20 January 2017}, Month = {April 24, 2009}, Year = {1995} }
Refer Export Format

%A John Moore, (ed)
%T Periodic Table Live!
%D April 24, 2009
%I ChemEd Digital Library
%C Madison
%U http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D April 24, 2009
%T Periodic Table Live!
%E Moore, John
%I ChemEd Digital Library
%V 2017
%N 20 January 2017
%8 April 24, 2009
%9 text/html
%U http://www.chemeddl.org/resources/ptl/

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Periodic Table Live!:

Covers the Same Topic As WebElements Periodic Table

A link to another well-respected interactive tool for teaching about the Periodic Table. It is available in a simpler "Scholar Edition" aimed at students.

relation by Caroline Hall
Same topic as NOVA: It's Elemental

This interactive Periodic Table, appropriate for Grades 5-10, focuses on the combination of elements in the human body and on elements which are combined to produce pyrotechnics.

relation by Caroline Hall

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