Web watch: Tony Tooth looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers
Times Education Supplement
Registration only takes a couple of minutes, is free and gives access to a wide variety of resources - not just jobs advertised in the TES. There are five main sections: jobs, reviews, community, resources and news published in the TES. The reviews section is searched by subject and level and, though 'chemistry' isn't an option offered, a search under 'science' and 'KS4' led me quickly to a variety of potentially useful tomes, including Keeping the light on: fossil fuels in the century of climate change and Energy (sustainable world). The community section includes a notice-board area with lists, by subject, of the latest courses, exhibitions and events on offer around the country as well as blogs where TES readers, educational experts and teachers discuss education issues. The resource section is also searched by subject and level. Having narrowed the search down to 'science' and 'KS4', a useful menu on the left of the page allows you to narrow the search further under specific headings such as 'atoms and molecules' or 'elements, mixtures and compounds'. Initially my search results didn't seem promising when, of the first four links I tried, one led me to a commercial software site while the next three were broken links. However, further clicking started to yield more positive results such as a well-presented PowerPoint presentation on the uses and extraction of titanium and a worksheet designed to teach electron arrangements. The quality of the material is only as good as the person submitting it but, once downloaded it can be amended to get rid of any typos or to take account of any variations between specifications. This well-organised site would be excellent if more people were to visit and submit their favourite teaching material.
Periodic Table on the Web
Teachers can use this site to access a wide array of information on each element by clicking on the relevant symbol in the Periodic Table. The site is sufficiently up to date to include ununoctium and also offers enough detail to answer the inevitable question that is raised when you've demonstrated potassium in water and shown the video about rubidium and caesium - 'what about francium?'. For common elements the amount of data available is vast and includes physical properties, uses, extraction methods, history, geology and links to other sources of information. In some cases there are also videos, including the reaction between titanium and potassium chlorate(vii).
If you know of any websites that should be reviewed in Education in Chemistry, then e-mail the title or URL to TonyT@kings-ely.cambs.sch.uk.