Not All Periodic Tables are the Same?

periodic table apps

Upon sharing my array of apps with some future chemistry teachers, they asked why so many Periodic Tables?  My response was “Well not all periodic tables are the same”, upon which was followed by several blank stares…

Let me explain:  I currently have the following periodic table apps loaded on my iPad:

EMD PTE-  Merck KGaA - free

You tube video link: EMD PTE (free periodic table) app demonstration on iPad

Besides the fact that this is free, the app is useful for the ease of using the molar mass calculator and many other features. However, if your students are not familiar with the element symbols, they will have to do some scrolling through the symbols to locate their element.

EleMints – Mochi Development, Inc. free or $4.99

With this app, a simple zoom in allows many features to pop up for each of the elements including the elements name and several more common element information.  With even further expansion you are provided with the number of electrons found on each the different energy levels for that particular element. 

Another feature includes the capability to enter in a chemical equation and allow the Chemical Equation Balancer to help you solve and balance the equation.  Also, within the app is the link to its Wikipedia article showing both pictures of the element and the spectral lines for that particular element, which are great to project when studying electron diagrams.

Periodic Table of the Elements – by Kevin Neelands – free

Taken from the app store: This is a standard periodic table of the elements - a necessity for anyone interested in or even exposed [to] chemistry. However, the version differs in that instead of cramming all the information for an element into one little square, you can select a chemical attribute and have the entire chart color coded to plainly show how the different elements vary with regard to the selected trait. I have read the reviews for this app. One dated 2011, mentions that the electron configuration of Molybdenum is incorrectly shown as [Kr]5s24d4 and asks that it be corrected to [Kr] 5s14d5. This has yet to be addressed.  I feel this is one that I will be removing from my iPad. 

The Periodic Table Project – by 3M Canada

This app was a collaborative project that was initiated by the University of Waterloo to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry in 2011.  Chem 13 News working with the Chemistry Dept. and the Faculty of Science asked for chemical educators to adopt an element and then represent it with an artistic flair. The periodic table is up to date and I am proud to say that one of my very own students had her artwork represented (Cadmium Cd-48).  I have the periodic poster hanging in my room and it’s great to point out to the students our own schools work and then point them to the app to read about how each of the elements are represented by the pictures shown. – Website created by Mathematica, many contributions from Theodore Gray

Check out this website for some stunning pictures representing each of the elements.  I own the book so I currently don’t own the app. I mostly use the website instead.  I highly recommend you check out the stunning visuals. 

The Elements In Action by Theodore Gray – by Touchpress Limited

With this app, you get again the beautiful representations of the elements made famous by Theodore Gray, but in video form.  Clicking on the element provides you with a short loop of a video representing that element. 

Visual Chemistry Pro HD – by voi nguyen – currently $4.99 on iPad, coming soon to iPhone

This app has recently become one of my favorite apps with all that it has to offer. This App contains the following modules: (taken from itunes store)
1) Chemistry of the Elements 
2) Electrochemistry 
3) Glossary of Liquid 
4) Minerals 
5) Labtests Abbreviations 
6) Organic Compounds
7) Inorganic Compounds
8) Periodic Table
9) Videos

Clicking on an element provides you with common info but also includes a beautiful picture of the elements spectral lines, its configuration, general information such as the element’s applications, an “in the environment” section including its effects on the environment, common health effects, and finally how it is prepared.  Also included within this app is a dictionary including the elements, electrochemistry terms, minerals formulas, glossary of terms associated with liquids, and labtests abbreviations. 

Another feature involves videos of several chemical reactions including the balanced chemical equation, and model pictures of Inorganic and Organic compounds with information about each one.  This app has a lot to offer!  It is worth the money.

Chemio – A Student’s Chemical Reference – By AppBit Software, LLC - $1.99 iPad

This app offers a great periodic table but what makes it stand out is it provides my students with beautiful representations of the Bohr model for each of the elements and it also includes large diagrams showing the orbital diagram and electron configuration for each element. A molar mass calculator is also provided giving the compounds elemental percent composition and a solubility table is also included for reference purposes. 

Periodic Table – By Royal Society of Chemistry

Taken from the itunes store, this is truly a fact-filled, image-rich app representing the periodic table.  Of course, each element links to the great videos involving Professor Martyn Poliakoff.  The app is fully customizable and provides visual representations showing the trends of elements:

  • density
  • atomic radius
  • electronegativity
  • melting point
  • boiling point
  • first ionization energy
  • supply risk

Information for each element includes:

  • uses and properties
  • history
  • atomic data
  • oxidation states and isotopes
  • supply risk
  • pressure and temperature data

My students love the professor and the videos and this app provides quick links to each of them.

So… as I said, “Not all periodic tables are the same!”

Others not listed include:

Nova Elements – used mostly by me as a chem lab activity instead of as a reference periodic table app but does provide info on each of the elements.

If I have left anything out, please let me know.  If you use these or any other periodic table app, I hope you will comment.




Students who demonstrate understanding can use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.

*More information about all DCI for HS-PS1 can be found at and further resources at


Students who demonstrate understanding can use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.

Assessment Boundary:

Assessment is limited to main group elements. Assessment does not include quantitative understanding of ionization energy beyond relative trends.


Examples of properties that could be predicted from patterns could include reactivity of metals, types of bonds formed, numbers of bonds formed, and reactions with oxygen.