Bringing the Periodic to Life

Dear atomic colleagues,

As promised, below are some links to fantastic online resources and videos to begin – or further – your atomic learning journey.

The best place to start is with Ian Stuart’s outstanding Atomic School YouTube videos. His website is a work in progress but already packed with free lesson plans in PowerPoint format, including the lesson where kids make their own Element Strip with all 92 naturally occurring elements as one long list.

The Periodic Table Song by ASAP_Science is a huge hit with kids but it’s even better when they understand what they are singing about. The original Periodic Table Song by Tom Lehrer (set to Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Modern Major General” and sung out of order) is mind-bogglingly good.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s interactive Periodic Table is the best I have found online and provides both the history of each element (who discovered it and how it was named) as well as its physical and chemical properties. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation makes medical radioisotopes for the treatment of cancer and much else and ANSTO’s excellent illustrated Periodic Table is here.

The Oxygen Versus Nitrogen demonstration was published in the Journal of Chemical Education by Stephen Wright. A subscription is required to access the article but I can email a copy of the PDF if you’re keen to read it in full. And if you do not have access to liquid nitrogen but still want to do the “on/off, happy/sad, fire/no fire, alive/dead” demonstration, just fill the second flask with carbon dioxide made with baking soda and vinegar instead. EASY! Erlenmeyer flasks are cheap on eBay (or your local high school might even give you a pair.)

Enjoy and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like more information or help.

4 thoughts on “Bringing the Periodic to Life

  1. Hi Reuben, thanks for the amazing presentations over the last two days in Perth. Could you please send me a pdf on the oxygen vs. nitrogen activity (bleach and peroxide). regards Grant Rielly (

    1. Hello Dennis, apologies for the delayed reply… yes, I have hovered between 69kg and 72kg since 2013, with a peak of 74kg after Christmas / New Years 2019 (the White Russians were flowing but I breathed them all back out again)

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