Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Periodic Pleasures OR Irrefutable Proof that I am a Hopeless Geek

A couple of years ago I got very excited about visual literacy, graphic design, and all the cool examples online including graphs, diagrams, comics, charts, etc. Through the magic of hypertext, these can all be interactive and, in my opinion, really, REALLY fun and interesting. I presented on this topic and the basis of my preso is at my wiki. If I do say so I have a lot of cool information there and here is the link:

I was reminded of my love for visuals when someone on a message board recommended the interactive visual periodic table. When you move your cursor over the elements and pause on one, you will get its name and a few facts. If you then click you get more extensive information on three tabbed pages. I have vivid memories of my high school chemistry class and can say without a doubt I would have loved this site and would have learned from it. There is also a nifty game that users can play to refresh memory. Here's the link:

Visiting this site made me remember a riff on the periodic table that adapted the design to visualization tools. In order to see this table in action you need to go to the URL and click on the picture of the table. You get a pop-up that shares the table. If you move the cursor over the table, you get the name of the tool represented, and also a visual document pops up. I can think of TONS of ways to use this with students. Here is the URL and then remember to click on the pic:
Similar to the Merck table, this one provides information if you just rest the cursor on a square, you get the name of the type of tool presented and also an example. Take a look at the other visuals on the page also. They are interactive too.

Next, I found another scientific periodic table that is very cool. For each element there is a video that shows the properties of that element. The professor who does the talking is a delightfully nerdy guy whom I wish had been my high school chemistry teacher instead of dull old ex-weatherman Mr. Snyder.  Catch an interview or two to see the prof. Try hydrogen and view a fun explosion! Here is the URL:

Now I was on a roll and having glorious geeky fun. I found another table similar to the Merck one, that I think kids would like. Once again you get brief information by hovering over a square. Clicking takes you to the Wikipedia article on that element. Leave it to Wikipedia to come up with this one:

And I was not surprised to find other adaptations of the periodic table design. Here is one for typefaces:

Business types might like the Table of Brand Evolution Terms:

There's even a periodic table of beer styles, though I had trouble getting the large version to completely load in:

After I found the beer table I thought I had come across the piece de resistance. But no! Here is THAT gem! If you are still with me, go to this site with a list of sites. The blog entry is called "There is a Periodic Table for That: 15 Geeky Periodic Tables" Happy geek-surfing!

Oh and of what use is any of this information and what point beside geekiness prompts me to post? I think this would be fun to share with students (Well not The Periodic Table of Vulgarities but other examples. Then have THEM make periodical tables...of US Presidence, of endangered animals, of Texas heroes, of American authors, name it!

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