NOVA Elements

It's like a periodic table variety show! When the plethora of periodic table apps becomes ho-hum, this one may revive interest.

5th - 12th Science 11 Views 3 Downloads
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App Overview

Explore: An interactive periodic table of elements

  • Periodic table simply displays the chemical symbol and atomic number
  • Color-coded by groups
  • Touch a symbol to reveal its name, atomic mass, electronic configuration, a picture, a brief description, the opportunity to build an atom, and if available, a link to a video clip
  • Once you build the atom in the Atomic Sandbox, the button on the description changes from Build to Built. You no longer have the opportunity to build that atom unless you reset the game

Watch: A NOVA movie, "Hunting the Elements"

  • Option to turn on subtitles for closed captioning
  • Internet connection required
  • Built-in volume control

Play: David Pogue's Essential Elements game

  • Five object choices: DNA, red t-shirt, cup of coffee, bananas, and a watch
  • Molecular Sandbox: Add atoms to build molecules of the contents for each object
  • Visit the Atomic Sandbox to build each individual type of atom before you can add it to the molecule
  • Molecule is rotatable
  • Encouraging messages appear and are stated with a voice whether your submission is correct or not
  • Completed molecules are highlighted on the game menu screen
  • Instructions available with the touch of the Instructions button.

Easily return to the home page from any screen with Home button in upper right corner.

The two Settings choices to turn audio on or off or to reset the entire game.


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Instructional Ideas

Ideally, everyone in your class would have their own tablet so that they can continually work through the atom and molecule building games and save their progress. If so, assign them as unit-long activities that junior chemists can work through at home or in class when they have spare time.

Connect your tablet up to a projector and show "Hunting the Elements" as an introduction to your matter unit. The chapters vary from 2 to 16 minutes in length and are the consecutive parts of a complete NOVA episode.

Classroom Considerations

  • The Molecular Sandbox activity is not intuitive, but once you understand, it is fun to play
  • There is no provision for learners to share their progress with you as the teacher

  • An attention-keeping combination of video, text, and activities

  • Requires Wi-Fi connection to watch videos
  • No way for teachers to track student progress
  • David Pogue's photo is overused throughout the app