Teacher's Guide - Periodic Table

Teacher's Guide
MATLAB Periodic Table

Updated 08/12/04

MSDE CORE Learning Goals - Science

  1. Goal 1: Skills and Processes
       1. Expectation 4: The student will demonstrate that data analysis is
          a vital aspect of the process of scientific inquiry and
            1. Indicator 6: The student will use spreadsheet, graphing, and
               database programs and probeware on computers and/or graphing
       2. Expectation 5: The student will use appropriate methods for
          communicating in writing and orally the processses and results of
          scientific investigation
            1. Indicator 1: The student will demonstrate the ability to
               summarize scientific concepts, processes and data through
               written communications
            2. Indicator 5: The student will use computers and/or graphing
               calculators to produce tables, graphs and spreadsheet
  2. Goal 4: Concepts of Chemistry
       1. Expectation 2: The student will explain that all matter has
          structure and the structure serves as a basis for the properties
          of and the changes in matter
            1. Indicator 2: The student will demonstrate that the
               arrangement and number of electrons determines the properties
               of an element and that these properties repeat in a periodic
               manner illustrated by their arrangement in the periodic table

	The Periodic Table program really consists of several kinds of files.  
The first set, called Properties in the Contents file, are the databases.  
Currently there are 21 databases available.  Each of these is an executable 
file (.m) but they are really nothing more than lists.  Each file has the same 
format - a few lines to explain the property and give the units, followed by 
106 lines.  Each line contains the name of the variable, the atomic number of 
the element and the value of the property.  Here is the first part of the 
Density file:
	% Density.m creates Densities of solid elements (kg/m3)
	% 0 for those not available
	Density(1) = 76.0;
	Density(2) = 124.8;
	Density(3) = 534;
	Density(4) = 1847.7;
	Density(5) = 2340;
	Density(6) = 3513;
	Density(7) = 1026;
	Density(8) = 2000;
	Density(9) = 1516;

	Note that the first two lines are commented out (% signs tell MATLAB 
not to execute those lines).  Then each line repeats the name of the property, 
followed by the atomic number in parentheses and then the value for the property.
Thus "Density(2) = 124.8;  means that the Density of Helium is 124.7 kg/m3.  
Some property values are unknown for some elements, and most files have a line 
which explains the value substituted for the unknown value.  This is important,
as all these databases must be the same length and must have some value in them.

	It is a simple matter to change data in these files.  The files can be 
opened by any word processing program and edited, then saved as text files.  
If a teacher desired to change this file, they would edit the appropriate line, 
for example Density(2) = 133;, then save the file as a text file called dens.m,
 the original name of the file. 

	If a teacher wants to create a new file, they can use an old file and 
the find/change option of the wordprocessor to change the property names.   
Then they would need to enter the values of the property.
	The following properties are avaiable:

    Property		Property Name 		File name
	Abundance 		abund			ab.m
	Atomic radius		Atomicrad		atomicr.m
	Boiling Point		BoilingPt		bpt.m
	Covalent Radius		Covrad			covr.m
	Discovery Date		Date			date.m
	Density			Density			dens.m
	Electron Affinity	ElecAff 	 	elecaf.m
	Electronegativity	ElecNeg			elecneg.m
	Group			Group			group.m
	Heat of Formation	hform			hform.m
	Heat of Fusion		hfus			hfus.m
	Heat of Vaporization	hvap			hvap.m
	Ionic Radius		IonRad			ionrad.m
	Ionization Energy	ionE			ion.m
	Number of Isotopes	Iso			iso.m
	Melting Point		MeltingPt 		mpt.m
	Nuclear Charge 		NucChrg 		nucchrg.m
	Number of Radioactive 	RadIso			radiso.m
	Symbol			Symbol 			symbol.m
	Thermal Conductivity	TherCond 		thercon.m
	Atomic Weight		AtomWt 			weight.m 

	In addition to the property databases, there is a file noble.dat, 
which contains the data necessary to graph vertical lines at the end of each 
period on the table.  This helps students to see periodicity in the properties.

Initialization Routines

	There are two programs which muct be run to initialize the Periodic 
Table program.  The program makeptab.m reads all the data files and saves them 
 as ptable.mat.  makeptab.m only needs to be run when there is a change in one 
of the databases or a new database has been added.  makeptab.m  must be edited 
to include the name of any new databases.  ptable.mat is a binary file which 
cannot be directly read or edited.  

	Likewise, maketab.m read tabrec.dat and creates tabrec.mat, another 
binary file which contains the data for drawing a periodic table.  Again, this 
program only needs to be run once, unless there is a change to tabrec.dat.

	If the versions of tabrec.mat and ptable.mat are on the computer and 
are the current versions, the program initTab, loads these two files into the 
current memory.  Thus the data is avaliable for the student.

	In summary,  makeptab and maketab need to only be run once to establish 
the files ptable.mat and tabrec.mat.  Once these two files are on the computer,
the user only needs to run initTab.  This will load the files and return a list
of the variable names.

The following programs each hold data of the listed type for the elements.
Units (if known) are given in the text at the top of the file. These can be
read directly, as they are text files.


	The following "programs" are really functions which can be called for 
working with the periodic table data.  These are invoked by simply typing the 
appropriate command in the command window.

	printp  - draws the periodic table using thtabrec.mat file
      clickel - returns info about an element clicked - use this after printp
	surf2 - creates a 3d plot of the desired property 	
		This function has the format surf2(PropertyName, tabp);
		When first viewed, the axis running from left to right is
		period, the axis running from the left corner "into" the screen 
		is group and the vertical axis is the property 

Programs, activities and Worksheets

	Teachers can choose to have their students work with the Periodic Table 
database using the commands of Matlab.  Several sample worksheets and activities
are included below to illustrate this approach.  They may also choose to use one
of the prewritten programs.  These programs are