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What if students could learn the periodic table with a fun, interactive simulation? On the Web, or downloaded to your computer, you can engage students in creating their own models of the periodic table. Check out this new approach to learning about elements and the periodic table. This interactive science activity focuses on the origin and evolution of the modern Periodic Table. If you are using Genesis science modules for the first time, read the User's Guide thoroughly before you begin. (View User's Guide as a PDF.)

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is used to distribute fully formatted, print-quality documents electronically. The following information is available to view and print as a PDF file with Adobe's Acrobat reader. To install the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader, visit the Adobe Web site.

This interactive simulation requires that Macromedia Shockwave is installed in your Web browser. To get Shockwave, or for more information, visit the Macromedia Shockwave site.

Take a look at science modules available. All technical terms in the science modules are compiled in the Glossary for easy access.

Periodic Table
In the 19th century Dmitri Mendeleev organized the known elements by their characteristics and atomic weights. His creation evolved into what we now call the periodic table. We use it regularly, but what would it be like to construct that model from scratch? What if you had to group elements by their characteristics and place them on a table close to the other elements in their group, while at the same time logically arranging the atomic weights? What decisions would you make? What would it be like... to be Mendeleev?

Start the Simulation
Start the Simulation
Adobe's Acrobat Reader©

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is used to distribute fully formatted, print-quality documents.

Shockwave Player

Download the free player here.

Modeling the Periodic Table: Interactive Simulation
PDF Icon Teacher's Guide
PDF icon Teaching Tools
PDF Icon User Quick Clicks guide
Web Link Download and Installation Guide
Web Link Netscape Web site
Web Link Microsoft site

This software may be loaded on as many student computers as you wish, and may be freely distributed to your colleagues. To download, select your system and follow the prompts.

If you experience any problems during the download or installation process, please read the Download and Installation Guide.

(".exe" file)
(StuffIf ".sit" file)
(Compressed ".zip" file)
Cosmic Chemistry: Understanding Elements (recommended
for grades 5-9)
Web Link Full Module

Cosmic Chemistry: An Elemental Question (recommended
for grades 8-12)
Web Link Full Module

The stand-alone activity "Modeling the Periodic Table: An Interactive Simulation" is accompanied by a Teacher's Guide (pdf) with background, lesson procedures, and links to other materials needed for planned instruction. With modification, it is appropriate for grades 5-12.

Teachers seeking a full module that incorporates the simulation should use Cosmic Chemistry: Understanding Elements (recommended for grades 5-9) or Cosmic Chemistry: An Elemental Question (recommended for grades 8-12).

Check out the User Quick Clicks guide (PDF) for a brief 'how-to' for using the program. It also makes a great reference handout for students.


If you encounter difficulty installing the Shockwave plug-in, you may need to upgrade your browser. Go to the Netscape Web site to upgrade Netscape Communicator or the Microsoft site to upgrade Internet Explorer.

This education activity, Modeling the Periodic Table, was developed by educators at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.
Contributing Writers:
~Dr. Martha Henry, McREL
~Greg Rawls, McREL
~Jacinta Behne, McREL
Technical Editor:
~Jacinta Behne, McREL
Educational Reviewers:
~Alice Krueger, McREL
~Jeff Johnson, McREL
~Amy Hoza, McREL
Special thanks to the following reviewers of the original activity "Making Sense of the Elements" in the module Cosmic Chemistry: An Elemental Question:

~Dr. Donna Bogner, Wichita State University
~Dr. Don Burnett, California Institute of Technology
~Dr. Marcia Neugebauer, Jet Propulsion Laboratories
~Dr. Don Rapp, Jet Propulsion Laboratories
~Dr. Dorothy Woolum, Jet Propulsion Laboratories

Technical Development:
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