Ptable

Website review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Ptable Website Poster Image
The best periodic table reference online, hands down.

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The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational value

Beyond the basics, kids can, for example, display all the elements' states (solid, liquid, gas, or unknown) as color-coded, for the whole table at once, using a slider that ranges from 0 to 6,000 degrees Kelvin. If slid all the way to the left, Helium is shown as the only element with no solid form (blue for liquid) -- interesting. Sliding all the way to the right shows that all the elements can take the form of a gas. Ptable offers dynamic resources in a tight package for casual to serious chemistry buffs or those considering becoming a buff.

Positive messages

The kind of knowledge kids can get from Ptable can help them stay curious about the natural world and all the elements it's made from.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

There are links to outside purchases of chemistry stuff, and there's a banner ad on top (but it can be deactivated!).

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ptable is a website that offers a free, layered, interactive periodic table. It's likely to impress even kids with no previous interest in chemistry. The icing on the cake that parents and teachers alike will love is exposure to academic and professional resources, though knowledge of the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) is assumed twice with no further reference. Though it has no games or activities and might be a bit intimidating for a beginner, motivated kids need no longer search for the definitive periodic table reference: this is it! Plus, it's available in 46 languages including Latin. Pretty cool.

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What's it about?

PTABLE is a website that offers a free, layered, and interactive periodic table. The main page displays the periodic table, which you can click to get Wikipedia definitions. This page is the default, but you can also select WebElements.com definitions, videos, podcasts, or images, including visuals of common products that contain an element (such as older-style batteries, sushi, and vermillion paint for mercury). You can learn about the 18 groups of elements, interactively explore 16 properties and their subproperties, view images of orbitals, list selected or all isotopes, and iterate compounds, plus much more.

Is it any good?

Ptable is awesome for kids truly interested in chemistry or who have a parent who wants to get them interested. The sheer quantity of information about each element, from atomic number to abundance in the universe, is quite enough, but then add color codes, dynamic and interactive data, links to a complete set of videos and podcasts from distinguished sources, and striking and orderable images and posters, and you've got a website with some serious depth. Need more? Creator Michael Dayah provides a video demo of the site (though it's a bit on the speedy-yet-cursory side), plus he outlines the site history, navigation features, sources, search techniques, and troubleshooting tips.

It can be tricky to discern the selected element, and, if you're looking for a place to get a younger kid started, the Jefferson Lab site is more plain and accessible, plus it has games, puzzles, and a student zone (education.jlab.org/itselemental). On the other hand, if you want to launch your chem-head kid into a new world of understanding, Ptable, in Dayah's own words, makes "Mendeleev's creation come alive."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how memorization can be boring at first, but, with a subject like the elements, there's a lot of interesting information beyond abbreviations.

  • Help your kids think about the elements by finding examples in your own home. What items contain which elements? Are they important items?

Website details

  • Subjects: Science: chemistry, measurement, rocks and minerals, substance properties
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: asking questions, memorization, part-whole relationships
  • Genre: Educational
  • Pricing structure: Free

For kids who love Science

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