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47 mini-reviews of chemistry-related websites

Read a review and then link to each of the following chemistry sites. Ed Doadt published these full reviews in Chem13 News. These mini reviews were published from September 2008 to May 2009.

Please keep in mind the following are not meant to be overall reviews of a website, but to give an idea about what each website has to offer. Plan to add some of these sites to your favorites. The review date is beside each website.


 

  • Los Alamos National Labs – October 1995
    The Los Alamos National Labs is one of the more interesting periodic table websites, having plenty of links to engage web users.
  • Web Elements - October 1995
    Ed called this periodic table website from the University of Sheffield, England, rewarding.
  • Fermilab – November 1995
    Fermilab is home of the “winning team” in the race to discover the top quark. One way Ed used this website in his classroom was to discuss the “quark ideas” and compare the differences in scale to Rutherford’s gold experiment.
  • Dow Chemical – April 1997
    The Dow Chemical website is not an educational website, strictly speaking, but the website has much to offer teachers and students. Good information about environmental health and safety issues.
  • National Science Teachers Association – January and February 1998
    National Science Teachers Association website has lots of information for the Science Teacher. At the time of the review, Ed especially liked the Publications and Products link (still available). There are now podcasts available.
  • Science Teachers Association of Ontario – March 1998 and January 2006
    Since Ed first reviewed Science Teachers Association of Ontario (STAO) website, STAO has added a virtual library which organizes labs, ideas and activities by curriculum concepts. Chem13 News plans to have a WebFind review in the fall.
  • The Royal Society of Chemistry – April 1998
    Ed was impressed with The Royal Society of Chemistry website, especially the available links. The website has now added LearnNet, for teachers and students of chemistry at all levels. It provides access to products and information relevant to the study of chemistry.
  • Bad Science – May 1998
    Alistair B. Fraser started this website in January 1995. It is a fun website for science teachers to visit although sadly the “bad chemistry” link has not been kept up. In fact you cannot access the interesting chemistry hyperlinks. The article on “Science Reeducation” was reprinted from this website in the February 2008 issue of Chem13 News.
  • Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI) – September 1998
    The Laboratory Safety Institute website focuses on safety in science and science education. This is a non-profit, international educational organization for health, safety and environmental affairs. The website has an impressive list of safety resources on the web.
  • Catalyst – October 1998
    Ed called the Catalyst website a "must-see" website in chemical education. This remains true today - check it out. The website has been developed specifically for the secondary education/high school level teacher, as a resource for finding relevant information for use in the teaching of chemistry and alternative education
  • The Periodic Table of Comic Books – January 1999
    The Periodic Table of Comic Books is a fun website that will fascinate you by the way that the elements have permeated the comic book industry.
  • Halifax West High School – February 1999
    A Halifax West High School website is maintained by R. Nalepa. This is an excellent example of teachers using the web to get information to their students.
  • Science Central – March 1999
    Instructional Materials for Science Educators (IMSEnet) is brought to you by the Science Education Research in Visual Instructional Technology (SERVIT) Group, Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, North Carolina State University NC. It is a good starting place for science teachers with hundreds of great links to various websites organized by topics and including brief descriptions. 
  • MathMol – April 1999
    MathMol is an introduction to molecular modeling for middle and high school students. It is always fascinating to see 3D versions of molecules.
  • Chemistry Webercises Directory – May 1999
    Wiley.com hosts this website maintained by Steven Murov of Modesto Junior College in California. Ed highly recommended this website so be prepared to stay awhile; there are a lot of resources.
  • LeMoyne College – September 1999
    LeMoyne College in Syracuse NY provides an outstanding resource of chemical history to bring into the classrooms. 
  • ChemWeb – October 1999
    Although primarily aimed at the chemical industry, there is plenty of information providing "real life" applications in chemistry. There is easy access to abstracts, papers, books, conferences, news and forums. The Alchemist newsletter is also offered to ChemWeb’s members. Membership is free.
  • Science is Fun in the Lab of Shakhashiri – January 2000/November 2006
    Bassam Shakhashiri’s impressive website was first reviewed in 2000.  Ed took a second look in 2006. This website continues to be one of the absolute best sources of information for teachers of chemistry. If you have never visited this website, you need to. It is difficult to provide you with a thorough review of the Science is Fun website because it is so vast. Every section of this website is a gold mine of information for teaching chemistry.
  • All Atoms – May 2000
    W. Gray Rushin, along with fellow teachers at Cary Academy NC, maintain this website.  It is impressive for students and teachers alike.
  • EnvironmentalChemistry.com – September 2000
    Ed reviewed an environmental website, "www.kblproductions/yogi/index.html", originally started as a college project by Kenneth Barbalace. That website has disappeared but Kenneth now has a website called Environmental Chemistry, which is filled with chemistry, environmental and hazardous materials news, in-depth articles, information & resources. If you want to bring environment issues into your classroom, you should visit this website. 
  • Advanced Chemistry Development – October 2000
    Advanced Chemistry Development (ACD) labs, is a high-end software company that has been giving away a popular chemical drawing software called ChemSketch for free since 1998. The latest version 11.0 has just been released in February 2008 and is available to anyone for home or academic use, and can be downloaded free from the website.
  • Internet Public Library – December 2000
    The Internet Public Library is as an awesome resource. Sponsored by the School of Information at the University of Michigan, the website is a well-organized source of Internet sites for all subject areas. 
  • Scientific American – March 2001
    A visit to this Scientific American website presents you with the current “Ask the expert” questions to be answered.  A really great part to the website is the archive of recently answered questions.  This is not the website to use for those questions that are typically looked up in reference books.  But if you are looking for a good discussion question (and feel better if you know the answer ahead of time) the “Ask the Expert” page should be on your bookmark list.  [Note:  The latest questions deal with some of the science behind the Beijing Olympics.  The Editors] 
  • Science.ca – April 2001
    Here you can find an impressive amount of biographical information on dozens of Canadian Scientists from the past and from the present.  It also has a great “ask a scientist” page. 
  • How Stuff Works – September 2001
    This is an outstanding website for science teachers. After a visit here you become aware that this website is not just for junior school. In fact there are lots of explanations on interesting applications in chemistry. Not only do students find these applications fascinating, teachers should find them interesting as well.  For example, there is an explanation of the chemistry behind the breathalyzer. While a junior student would be able to gain an appreciation of the operation of the device, a senior chemistry student would be able to interpret the redox reaction and follow the discussion about the oxidation of alcohols.
  • Independent Learning Center – October 2001
    When Ed first discussed this website, it was a homework help website through TVOntairo where students log in and ask questions in a forum. Answers are provided by logged-in teachers. Initially it was limited to grades 7 and 8. It has really expanded since 2001. Not only have subject areas increased to include the high school level, there is an independent learning centre as part of the website. Presentations aimed at students called “chalk talk” on different topics are also useful.
  • Perimeter Institute – November 2001
    Ed attended one of the public lectures sponsored by the Perimeter Institute in 2001.  Past lectures are available online.  These lectures bring great thinkers from around the world to Canada to share their ideas on a wide variety of interesting and topical subjects.  These lectures and debates are aimed at non-specialists.  No mathematical or scientific knowledge is necessary or assumed.  Ed states that members of the public, like some of the students in our classes, are interested in, and motivated by presentations that offer a glimpse of cutting edge research.  The website allows you to sort and filter these public lectures, based on interest and level of understanding, i.e., student, teacher, general public, subject area.  Definitely send your physics colleagues to this website and visit it yourself if you want to stretch your mind and be inspired. 
  • Purdue Chemistry - December 2001
    Ed says that the Purdue Chemistry website has "one of the most impressive demonstration collections that he has ever seen." The page lists 25 categories of chemical demonstrations. Most of these demonstrations can be found in books, so what is the advantage of the website? You can watch the demos being performed! Another benefit: worksheets and teacher notes are provided.
  • Educational Content Archive in Chemical Heritage Foundation (aspirin adventures) – October 2002
    With a myriad of aspects of aspirin, this is one of the best overall sites Ed had visited. It is a “must see” for chemical educators at all levels. The website is organized into categories such as Stories and more; Pencil and Paper Activities; Challenge Activities; Hands on Activities; Extra Knowledge; and Resources. The Hands-on Activities are great for teachers who share Ed’s insistence that chemistry teaching remain a hands-on activity.  For teachers looking for plenty of good stoichiometry problems, the Pencil and Paper activities has a page called Aspirin Math for High Schoolers – limiting reagent and even a Ka question. 
  • Chemical Heritage Foundation – February 2003
    Ed felt he needed to explore more of the Chemical Heritage website after his encounter with aspirin adventures - see previous review.  This website is a good starting point for chemistry teachers looking for the sort of background information that makes the subject come alive. Ed was impressed with the dozens of interviews with a wide range of personalities, including several Nobel Prize winners.
    A new addition to this excellent website is WebQuests. Students use the web and their knowledge of chemistry in these challenging activities. Many of these activities emphasize the history of chemistry and, at times, the chemistry of history. The quests included here are designed for use in high school or freshman level college courses. For example, the WebQuest called Chemistry Blimp is an activity that pulls together curriculum topics, biographies, online links and interesting support videos to explore the chemistry behind blimps. Students will be engaged in the material as they apply their classroom chemistry to real-life applications. Check these activities out and be impressed. 
  • Nature Publishing Group – December 2002
    Ed states that this website is "a vast, but extremely well organized website and well worth a look." Users can access the website at three different levels. Subscribers to one of the Nature Publication Group journals get the best access. By linking your subscription to the website, full text articles are available. Registered users gain access to selected articles and the tables of contents for each journal. Registration is free and can be done online. One feature that is useful for educators is the Nature Science Update. Several articles of current interest are available here.
  • King City Secondary School – April 2003
    Another great example of how teachers are using the Internet to connect with students and parents. Larry Raifman at King City Secondary School in Vaughan, Ontario, maintains this website. Larry keeps his website up-to-date. This is impressive given the many static websites out there. Homework and assignments are presented by month with the due dates clearly indicated. Larry also uses his website to display student marks. ID numbers are used to maintain confidentiality. Larry has also added some humorous audio for his students to enjoy.
  • The Alchemist – October 2003, February 2005
    Ed has reviewed this informative website three times (see mini-review in October 2008, Chem13 News) so it really is worth a visit. The website provides "The Alchemist" e-magazine which helps those teachers who are constantly looking for current event items to relate to classroom topics. Available as free email subscription "The Alchemist" has a supply of current event topics classified by area within chemistry. It is a rich source of enrichment material that any science teacher can use on a regular basis.
  • The Chemical Institute of Canada – November 2003
    This website is a great place to explore Canada’s past history of chemistry. Milestones of historical events in chemistry are represented as a series of PDFs. Arranged by decade, and starting with the 1900s, this series illustrates some of the industrial/commercial, theoretical and academic highlights of chemical history. For teachers outside Canada, try to find similar resources, for example, Chemical Heritage Foundation for the United States and Royal Society of Chemistry website for United Kingdom.
  • Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) – December 2003
    This is an agency of the federal Department of Canadian Heritage. Chemistry is an integral part of the conservation business. If it weren’t for chemistry, there would be no need to conserve items; they would remain pristine. This website contains examples of chemistry in context, using authentic examples and applications. It is a website rich with examples for teachers to enhance lessons. The CCI-in-Action has interesting chemistry background under "Scientific Examination and Analysis"
  • Chemical and Engineering News Periodic Table – January 04, March 2006
    When Ed first began his column he reviewed some periodic table websites - what a difference a decade makes. Initially these sites were not much better than looking material up in a reference book. This website now contains detailed information written by current chemists, many of whom were, or are, directly associated with the element under discussion. With an authors' list that includes E.J. Corey, Roald Hoffman, Carl Djerassi, Oliver Sacks, Neil Bartlett and Eric Seaborg (Glenn T.'s son), the American Chemical Society (ACS) has assembled a remarkable, and useful periodic table website.
  • Named things in Chemistry and Physics – November 2004
    The website is a valuable tool for anyone attempting to bring some history, and some personalities into the teaching of chemistry. If you are looking for a name in chemistry or physics, start your search here.
    Quoted on the website:
    "Nomina si nescis, perit et cognitio rerum."
    "Who knoweth not the names, knoweth not the subject."
    - Carl von Linne (1707 - 1778)
  • Canadian Chemical News – December 2004
    This is a publication of the Chemical Institute of Canada. This website contains issues dating back to the late 1990s. While viewing the current year’s editions requires a subscription, all the older issues are free. What a wealth of information awaits your browsing. The articles range from technical to general interest and are written by scientists, educators and science administrators across Canada.
  • National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine in the U.S.A. – May 2005
    This website compiles information about household products. What makes this website valuable is the variety of ways a user can search the database. You can search by "product", and you can search by "ingredient". What makes the website really interesting, however, is the ability to search it by "symptom".
  • American Plastics Council – October 2005
    This website called "Teaching Plastics" is a source of information for high school teachers. The history of plastics pages recount the development of plastics and polymers. Links are available to the uses of plastics, and more importantly, to sites explaining how plastics and polymers can be conserved and recycled.
  • Science Jokes – November 2005
    The website by Joachim Verhagen is a gold mine of quizzes, jokes and other anecdotes related to various aspects of science, mathematics, engineering and academic life. You owe it to yourself to have a look at this website if you want a little humour to jazz up that next test or quiz.
  • Tom Lehrer’s The Element (periodic table song) – December 2005
    This website has the flash animation of this classic chemistry song. Interestingly, Ed suggests you look up the song’s background on a new and dynamic form of online sharing website called Wikipedia. Was that only 5 years ago?
  • Flavornet – February 2006
    This website has lots of interesting information available. For example, one page is a compilation of molecules with their 3D structures and brief descriptions of their associated odour. Explore this website to add some flavour to your lessons.
  • University of Queensland – May 2006
    This website has a compilation of resources for science teachers. Ed states he can safely say this website is the largest collection of science teaching resources to be found in one place. If he were to be limited to only one website on the Internet for the teaching of science, this website would be the one.

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