My First Blog Post

Hello hello and thanks for stopping by my blog. My name is Kyle Bartel I was born and raised in Green Bay, WI. I moved down to the Milwaukee area about six years ago. What brought me down this way was that I was promoted in my profession (trucking industry) at the time, but to my surprise I hated every second of my promotion. That was when I decided it was time for me to follow my life long dream to become a teacher. My whole life people had always told me I would make a great teacher, but I was never one to reach even average in scholastics. I am very much looking forward to actually being in a profession that I chose to be in, instead of feeling like it was a profession I had to be in due to my lack of secondary education. My teaching and professional future goals are to be able to make a lasting impact on my students that opens their eyes, minds, and ears to the wonderful world of science.

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Blog Post 4

Thank you for viewing my text set on the periodic table.  I would focus this to be chemistry students that are grades 10 and 11.  I wanted to set this up as a refresher text set for the students, but also feel strongly that it could be an introductory to the periodic table for those that are not familiar with it.  I wanted to start with the basic knowledge which is just the history of how the periodic table was developed. I wanted to start here because I wanted to make sure the students in the hypothetical classroom are all on the same page.  It introduces them to the periodic table and makes them familiar with it, while also giving them history. Then I wanted to work into alternatives to the periodic table. There are numerous alternatives and some are well functioning. This will give them alternatives that if they should choose to could use instead of the typical one that is in classrooms.  The next part I wanted to cover was to give an interactive periodic table. This gives them the ability to click on every element. They are then brought to the elements wikipedia page, giving them lots of information on that particular element. Then I wanted to show a bit about how the periodic table can be used. We can use it for numerous things but only touch base on the trends to keep it simple.  When a topic like valence electrons is covered I can go back to many of these materials to help reinforce the content knowledge. Lastly I wanted to find two pieces that would give some relevance to the periodic table. The first can be used as a time-piece. Right now all over social media everyone is putting out memes about Area 51. A Netflix documentary has gained lots of popularity that documents Area 51 whistleblower Bob Lazar.  Since the documentary itself is long, and has inappropriate language sprinkled in I decided that instead of that documentary I would include an article that is the crux of his claim on element 115. The last article is more real life applications of how elements are used in a device that has become a staple in life, and that is the cell phone.

The Periodic Table History: The Mendeleev Story

Crash Course Chemistry, (2013, March 3rd), The Periodic Table: Crash Course Chemistry #4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RRVV4Diomg

This video goes through the entire history of Russian scientist Dimitri Mendeleev.  It details a quick synopsis of him growing up in Russia and how his mother wanted him to receive the best education.  Then it goes into how the periodic table came to be, and how ingenious Mendeleev really was. It also describes his skeptics. 

Text Complexity: 8.5

Qualitative: The language used is very accessible to the target audience without losing any meaning.  It’s also widely accessible by students as it is a free resource on YouTube.

Vocabulary: catalog, elements, atomic weight, relationship, reactivity, periods. 

Purpose: This is a great introduction to the periodic table.  There is a lot of information that is given, but is done so in a more entertaining way.  Since there is a lot of information that is given I would supplement this video with targeting texts.  Things for students to pay attention to and address the main takeaways from the video. The students don’t need to know Mendeleev history but I think anytime there’s an ability to humanize or connect science topics with personal relationships we should as it fosters a greater understanding.

Question: Why does learning the history help our understanding of the Periodic Table?

Different Variations on the Periodic Table


Chemistry Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.chemistry-blog.com/2009/04/26/alternative-periodic-tables/comment-page-1/


This is a blog post from Azmanam.  It has a quick tutorial on different variations on the periodic table.  It also has pictures along with the descriptions as to why this alternate is shaped the way it is.  It’s a great tool for compiling alternatives that kids can be aware of if the current model does not work for them.  Azmanam also does a great job in giving the justifications and reasoning behind the modifications that were made to each one individually. Then within the text there’s another hyperlink that sends you to a database that has many many more listed.

Text Complexity: Grade 8.6

Qualitative: This is very accessible reading.  The language is very toned down and we can see that from the text complexity score of grade 8.6.  There is some academic vocabulary inside the reasonsings but I think it’s still very accessible.

Vocabulary: lanthanides, actinides, horizontal, vertical, configuration, 

Purpose: The purpose of this is to show alternatives that are out there. If the current model is not working for them they can visualize the periodic table in different forms.  In particular an activity could be done at the end of the periodic table lesson where we are able to make the 3-D periodic table. This will help solidify any misconceptions that the first column and final column are separated by a lot, when in actuality their properties are fairly closely related.

Question: Why would some of these models be more beneficial for use?

Interactive Periodic Table


This is an interactive map of the periodic table.  There is so much useful information in this interactive map that it’s downright amazing.  It would be able to be used in almost every topic that’s covered in a chemistry class. It has electron configuration, electron spin, isotope, orbital shape, and common compounds found with any particular elements.

Text Complexity: Grade N/A due to how this text will be used.

Qualitative: This is another text that would be more visual.  Since when clicking on an element on the table it brings you to the elements wikipedia page.  The wiki pages are pretty advanced and use lots of academic language that would be far more advanced than my students accessing it.  But it gives so many useful tools that are accessible like the electron configuration, electron spin diagram, orbital probability, families and groupings.  Although the in depth text would be too high of a text complexity, I think the surface tools are appropriate for the age level.

Vocabulary: properties, orbitals, isotopes, compounds, solid, liquid, gas

Purpose: The purpose of this is to give a very in depth and interactive map to introduce students more into elements themselves.  As students select different elements on the table they are directed to the wikipedia page for that element, along with pictures.  Also it is another visual that can really help with it comes to orbital shape, isotopes, and compounds. It is a very useful too that will help with many different components of chemistry in general all within the shape of the periodic table.

Question: What are some relationships we start to see when it comes to columns and rows?

Trends of the Periodic Table

Mr. Causey. (2011, April 9). The Periodic Table Trends. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3qbooMh6Fc

This video goes through and explains the trends of the periodic table.  They layout four trends that are found within the periodic table and explain what they are.  They use graphics to help explain them as well as definitions of the actual trend that is being investigated.  They also focus well on the real main points of the trends and biggest take aways really well. Also how these can be applied.  How they are useful.

Text Complexity: Grade 10.2

QualitativeThis text is very accessible.  There is academic vocabulary that is used, but I still think even without prior knowledge to that particular vocabulary it is accessible. 

Vocabulary: Affinity, Radii, Ionization, energy, electronegativity, trend 

PurposeI would use this piece to show the trends of the periodic table.  This is a pretty visual topic as it is, as it it’s normally covered with a picture with arrows shows the direction that the trends are going.  It’s also typically just given in terms of definition of the trends without any real explanation as to what is actually going on. This video does a great job of explaining in more detail as to what the actual trends mean.  I also think it’s the weakest source, and would need to probably be redone, removed, or repaired pretty quickly, but still think its highly effective for now.

Question: How can we use these trends to help our understanding of chemistry?

Bob Lazar: Area 51


The Editors of Publications International, L. (2018, June 28). Bob Lazar, UFO Hoaxster. Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/space/aliens-ufos/bob-lazar.htm

Bob Lazar is a person who claims to have worked at Area 51.  He claims that his main role was to reverse engineer the propulsion system of the at least nine space craft that United States had hidden away at Area 51.

Text Complexity: Grade 11.5

Qualitative: It’s a very short piece, and I think shorter is always better.  The text complexity says it’s a 11.5 grade, but I don’t think that’s necessarily accurate.  Due to it’s extremely short length I don’t see why any student above the 6th grade wouldn’t be able to digest this information successfully.

Vocabulary: extraterrestrial, anti-gravity reactor, hangar, gravity, propulsion, synthesize

Purpose: The entire purpose of this piece is to set it in their world.  Social media is in a frenzy over Area 51 things right now, in large part due to the Bob Lazar documentary on Netflix.  Plus there is also the facebook page that has over 1 million signatures of people that are going to storm Area 51, with the amazing logic of “They can’t kill us all”.  I think it’s a fascinating time piece, and can be easily interchanged with any piece that is more relevant for any year. This has to do with the periodic table because Mr. Lazar whole claim surrounds this mysterious element number 115.  Which is an unstable earth synthesized element named Moscovium. I could see this being an entire class time reading his claims, and the background then debating whether we think he is credible or not. I think that’s the important piece, not whether he is right or wrong (we will literally never know),  but taking a look at credibility.

Question: Based off the given information do you find Bob Lazar and his claims to be credible? Why or why not.

Cell Phone Chemistry


Smartphones: Smart Chemistry. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/past-issues/archive-2014-2015/smartphones.html

This article goes through some of the technology that has become commonplace.  I think it’s particularly interesting and important to have at least a ground level understanding of the technology around us.  There is no more prevalent technology right now that screens and cell phones so I thought this would be a great article to go over how so many elements found in the periodic table have found great uses within one device.

Text Complexity: Grade 12

Qualitative: The text complexity hit this one right on.  As I was reading it I contemplated whether or not the language used was too tough or not.  I decided to use it because it is an easily accessible article that comes from a highly credible source.  It is lengthy, and does dive into some more challenging chemistry ideas. But I wanted to include a more challenging piece.  This can help them further their textual understanding.

Vocabulary: rare, metal, amorphous, crystalline, electrical, conductor

Purpose: The purpose of this text is to link the periodic table, and the elements to their everyday lives.  Cell phones are such an critical part of day to day life and society that the technology is always overlooked and negated.  This piece will help them gain an appreciation for how scientists have harnessed different elements and used their properties in ingenious ways to create one of the most important and crucial items in all of human existence.

Question: Why do we find it important to have a ground line understanding of the objects we use everyday?

Blog Post 3

The process of how to go about this was more about managing expectations and what was feasible.  The first part was to pick a topic that I enjoyed, and since I love chemistry that was easy. Next came narrowing down the topic I wanted to work with.  I wanted to choose a very visual topic, but also one that I think is critical to chemistry. Importance was the first part that I started with. I thought back to my entire undergrad and what were some themes that were in the beginning classes as well as the more advanced classes.  

The first topic that came to mind was Acid-Base (Lewis Theory and Bronstead Theory). Understanding Acid-Base is critical to chemistry at all levels.  Arguably the most important thing to understand in college courses. But while refreshing myself on the ins and outs of it I realized it was going to be very tough to conceptualize it into a meaningful visual.  Next topic was VESPR theory. VESPR Theory met the criteria of both being very visual, as its the geometric spatial arrangements of atoms. Visual was a clear check. It’s important because bond angles in chemistry are important to understanding why energies are the way they are.  But I didn’t think it would be feasible to do VESPR theory justice at this time. Time was the main factor in not choosing this.

What I decided on was the periodic table.  But was only able to really hit on a fraction of what I originally laid out that I wanted to go over.  I ended up settling on names of families (with some electron configuration sprinkled in), and three trends of the periodic table.  I chose these because they met both criteria of importance and visual competency. The fun aspect of this assignment was that I just really dove into re-learning the periodic table but I also refreshed my memory on Acid-Base theories and VESPR theory. 

For my annotated periodic table I really wanted to touch on something that I really think is lacking in chemistry instruction, and that is the visualization as to what elements actually look like.  So I really wanted to make sure that I had some visuals of what certain elements look like in nature. Like plutonium. When I think of plutonium I think of The Simpsons glowing green rod (I think this is my like my 10th Simpsons reference this semester).  But that is nowhere close to what it really looks like. It’s silver. I felt very constrained by the annotated picture though, so I really felt it necessary to create a second visual.

The second visual I created was one of those white board videos most of us have all seen and come to love.  I came across that program of Animaker while researching animation tools I wanted to use to make a VESPR theory animation.  I saw this program and knew instantly I wanted to use it. I tried making VESPR theory work for Animaker but it just wasn’t coming together.  That was really when I decided to use the periodic table as I knew I could make that work effectively. But although I loved working with Animaker and I think visually it works amazing, I was deeply hampered by the fact the FREE portion was only a 2 minute video.  If I covered everything I wanted to with the PT I would have needed at least a 10 minute video.  

Where I think my visuals hit is that they are easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.  Students that come across the youtube whiteboard video can pause it and digest what information is being given.  Plus I was able to give a very brief real world analogy by pictures under the definition, even though they are rudimentary.  The annotated picture also gives another aspect of real world look at elements. Gives the families, in an easy way. Where I think the two together missed the mark is that I felt forced to exclude explaining information.  Taking the three trends for example I really wanted to dive into why these trends happen, but it was a time constraint by the program. That’s the insight as to why I chose what I did.

This assignment was probably one of, if not the most fun assignments I have ever had to do in any of my schooling.  What I thought was interesting was that it was also the most time I spent on one single assignment in all of my schooling too.  I got an opportunity to dive into three topics I hadn’t looked at much in the past. I hope the fun I had shows through with these visuals and that those viewing them enjoy them.

Periodically Thinking About the Period Table

The topic that I would like to explore is the Periodic Table. I chose the Periodic Table for a few reasons. Also I’m just calling it PT from now on.  For one it’s a key element (somewhat pun intended) in understanding Chemistry. Let’s get something out of the way right away, yes you could still be a great chemist and great chemistry student with little to no understanding of the PT. The PT is like the table of contents in a very long book.  Does a table of contents help you understand a book? Not really. Does a table of contents prevent you from being able to read the book. Nope. But what a table of contents does do is make your life easier when trying to understand groupings in the book, and accessing specific information quickly. My saviors during my college career over at Khan Academy have a great crash course into the Periodic Table: https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/big-history-project/stars-and-elements/knowing-stars-elements/v/bhp-periodic-table-crashcourse

Another reason that I picked the PT is because it is something that as a future educator am curious how to tackle this subject. It’s impossible to deny that the old days of memorizing the PT is archaic.  Google has made it so. A quick type into google images brings up millions of different sources where the PT is present. Memorizing all 118 or even half is out. I’ll be blunt. I never memorized it, and earned a chemistry degree.  There’s like 20 main elements you just get familiar with just from using them so frequently (O, C, F, Cl, K, Br, H, He, ect. You get the point). Sivaram over at the Deccan Herald has a beautiful breakdown of the PT. https://www.deccanherald.com/150-years-of-periodic-table-it-s-elementary-722288.html

Now that I have gone through what I don’t think the PT is good for I’d like to talk about what it is really is good for.  And that’s as a grouping, counting and reference tool. It’s so incredible in how simple it is, but yet so intricate. There are trends that develop through the PT, ionization energy, atomic radii, electronegativity, electron affinity, metallic character, and melting point.  Chem Libretexts another undergrad savior of mine has a great breakdown and visuals of these trends. https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Inorganic_Chemistry/Supplemental_Modules_(Inorganic_Chemistry)/Descriptive_Chemistry/Periodic_Trends_of_Elemental_Properties/Periodic_Trends

Then there are groupings.  Where elements that mostly behave the same are in columns.  Then you’re able to get valence shell configurations from the table. It actually fits so perfectly and I don’t know the answer to this, is if Dmitri Mendeleev the person credited with creating the modern periodic table did this on purpose or completely on accident.  I could just see it being sorted by valence shell electrons then the rest falling into place being just lucky. Something I really need to look into. Either way, here’s Britannica’s biography on good ol’ Dimitri. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Dmitri-Mendeleev

Now there are alternatives to the Tetris looking one we all know to come and love. These alternatives have become more popular lately, but I don’t know enough about them.  I don’t know if they are better to use or just an Instagram filter version of the PT (meaning just better at being better looking). There’s one that looks like a big Cinnebun and a small Cinnebun goo’ed together, one that looks like the fat burning cycle model sticker on a treadmill, one that looks like a pyramid scheme (which reminds me… selling Herbalife if anybodies interested…), plus many many more.  Another blogger took the time to compile them for me so take a look. http://www.chemistry-blog.com/2009/04/26/alternative-periodic-tables/comment-page-1/

There it is.  My thoughts after a long day of work and a nap on the Periodic Table.  I think I have a great grasp on the PT, and cannot wait to share what I think is the important aspects of it.  I had to use it so much that I was able to absorb what I needed from repetitive use. One of its trends also contains one topic that I am particularly a fan of and can’t wait to dive into it with a class if I get the chance and that’s electronegativity.  Gives me a chance to rag on fluorine for being a selfish self absorbed jerk. Thanks for reading and hope you have a great rest of your day!

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