Spinning electrons;Reviews;General;Secondary

27th February 1998 at 00:00
ATOM VIEWER. CD-Rom for MacPC from New Media Press, PO Box 4441, Henley on Thames, Oxon, RG9 3YR Tel: 01491 413999. Fax: 01491 574641 Internet: www.new-media.co.uk. pound;50.

PERIODIC TABLE. Disc for Windows from Future Skill Software, Penrodyn, Pontrhydygroes, Ystrad Meurig, Dyfed, SY25 6DP. Tel: 01974 282428. Free Internet demonstration at www.fssc.demon.co.uk. pound;20 or 20-user licence at pound;30.

Atom Viewer is a tool for teaching about electronic configurations. You can watch the electrons spin round a nucleus as you add electrons one at a time. You might demonstrate the program and discuss ideas such as shell capacity and full outer shells. The class can then use it to work out the configurations of the first 20 elements on screen and there is a printout that pupils can practise with at home.

The style of this software, where the teacher explains as the class does an exercise, is unlike anything around and this is meant as a compliment. It is not a part of an all-singing, all-topic CD-Rom, but a short exercise that fits any lesson or syllabus.

Periodic Table is a welcome complement to the ubiquitous school science CD-Rom, The Chemistry Set. It covers part of the same ground, but does not need an expensive CD-Romcomputer to run.

With those element boxes on screen, you can show where the metals, non-metals and chemical families are in the periodic table. You can click a gauge to increase the temperature, to show the order in which elements change state. This illustrates an interesting pattern across the table - hard to do with a wallchart.

The most useful feature lets you select elements and graph the trends in melting, boiling, atomic radius and ionic radius. It does this with such ease, and they print so well that you'll be inventing all sorts of homework exercises with it.

A short manual and a sensible price make it worth considering.

Roger Frost is the author of "Software for Teaching Science" (ASE)

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today