Josh Howgego, PhD chemistry student at the University of Bristol, looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers.
In this issue: the periodic table of videos
The periodic table of videos
Need a short video to lighten up a lesson? Look no further than video journalist Brady Haran's very lovely website, the Periodic Table of Videos. Here you will find a video for every element, most just a few minutes long. They make a great, short introduction to an element, complete with demonstrations (which are especially interesting for the alkali metals!)
The videos all feature the University of Nottingham's most outrageously-haired professor, Martyn Poliakoff. His knowledgeable and enigmatic stories of chemistry make the videos unmissable. 'I have long been fascinated by the periodic table,' Haran told me, 'and when I met Professor Poliakoff, he was an engaging character and very knowledgeable about chemistry. So the idea occurred to me - let's make videos about all the elements. Everything grew from there.'
Although useful as a teaching resource, that's not necessarily what Haran has in mind. 'All we want to do is be passionate and curious about chemistry,' he says, 'and hope that passion and curiosity come across in the videos.'
That is surely a great mentality to have when it comes to science. When aspiring young scientists could be worrying about A level results and UCAS applications, instilling a healthy curiosity about science is a valuable gift for a teacher to give. If students have that, it has the potential to ensure they continue to enjoy chemistry long after they have to study it at school.
Having completed a full complement of videos - one for each and every element - the periodic videos team have now turned their attention to their favourite molecules. They also cover pieces of big news in chemistry, which could help place some of the contemporary issues, such as funding cuts, in a clear social context for students.
And some of the videos are just plain fun. In my personal favourite Haran even manages to arrange for a periodic table to be etched into one of Poliakoff's hairs using a scanning electron microscope. That is cool.
A video for every element by Brady Haran and Martyn Poliakoff
Contact and Further Information
If you know of any websites that should be reviewed in Education in Chemistry please email the title and URL to Josh Howgego.
Email: Josh Howgego