the Annenberg Foundation
This web site introduces the periodic table and the basics of atomic structure within a framework of interactive activities. It takes the learner on a journey to understand the modern orbital model of the atom. It progresses to illustrated tutorials that explore the organization of the Periodic Table, characteristics of isotopes and ions, and how the placement of electrons determines the atomic composition of an element. Throughout are game-like simulations: build an atom by dragging virtual electrons into orbitals, explore ionic bonding by dragging individual ions to create a compound, calculate an atom's average relative mass with scaffolded help, and more.
Editor's Note: There are lots of interactive Periodic Tables on the web. This one is exemplary because it provides an easy-to-read tutorial with simulations placed at just the right points for students to immediately apply what they learned. It is simple enough for novice learners, but challenging enough to work a student's brain.
This resource is part of Annenberg Media, an organization devoted to distributing educational video programs which are accompanied by web and print materials.
Please note that this resource requires
Java Applet Plug-in.
Interactive Periodic Table, anion, atom builder, atom simulation, atomic group, atomic mass, atomic notation, atomic number, atomic structure, atomic symbol, cation, compounds, elements, energy levels, history of atom, interactive tutorials, ionic bonding, ionic bonding simulation, isotope, orbital, orbital model, periodic table, periodicity, tutorials
Metadata instance created
July 16, 2011
by Caroline Hall
October 11, 2013
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
April 30, 2011
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/M6c. Carbon and hydrogen are common elements of living matter.
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.
9-12: 4D/H1. Atoms are made of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. The nucleus is a tiny fraction of the volume of an atom but makes up almost all of its mass. The nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons which have roughly the same mass but differ in that protons are positively charged while neutrons have no electric charge.
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.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
There are lots of interactive Periodic Tables on the web. This one is exemplary because it provides an easy-to-read tutorial with simulations placed at just the right points for students to immediately apply what they learned. It is simple enough for novice learners, but challenging enough to work a student's brain.
%0 Electronic Source %A Miller, Nancy %D April 30, 2011 %T Annenberg Learner Interactives: The Periodic Table %I Annenberg Foundation %V 2015 %N 29 November 2015 %8 April 30, 2011 %9 text/html %U http://www.learner.org/interactives/periodic/index.html
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