Chemistry

Where can I find information about chemistry and chemical elements?

Image: Bachelor Students - Chemistry Lab by NTNU, Faculty of Natural Sciences on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 13/11/17

Introduction

Everything is made of chemicals. There are natural chemicals, like those made by plants and animals, and there are also synthetic chemicals, those that people have made or manufactured. Chemicals might be by themselves (called elements) or in groups (called compounds). The study of this is called chemistry. This entry shows where to look for reliable information about chemistry topics.

Atoms and compounds

There are many good websites that have useful facts, images, and other information about chemistry, chemicals and compounds. Here are some of our favourite sites that have information about atoms and compounds.

Science in context

A good place to look for scientific information is EPIC. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics, and it's put together especially for New Zealand school students. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.

This particular resource has lots of articles from encyclopedias, magazines and journals.

  1. Login using your school password (or ask a librarian on AnyQuestions).
  2. Search using keywords such as 'atoms' or 'compounds'.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Britannica School

A reliable source of information is Britannica School, an online version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

  1. Login using your school password (or ask a librarian on AnyQuestions).
  2. Choose the level best suited to you.
  3. Search using keywords such as 'atoms' and 'chemistry'.

The Periodic Table

The periodic table is a grouping of the natural chemical elements, and man-made or synthetic elements, arranged by atomic number so that elements with similar chemical properties and atomic structure line up in the same columns.

HowStuffWorks

HowStuffWorks is a really good website for finding out how all sorts of things work. Often the articles we find will go over multiple pages, so we need to click through them to find more info. We can learn more about who runs the website by reading the About page.

  1. Search using keywords like 'periodic table'.
  2. Select an article such as How the Periodic Table Works.
  3. Choose next to get more information.
Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

FactMonster

This is an online encyclopedia and homework site. It has lots of basic facts and is a good starting point for all sorts of questions. If you scroll down to the bottom of the site, you will see it’s run by Pearson Education, a publisher of educational books.

  1. Select Science.
  2. Scroll down to Interactive Periodic Table.
  3. Choose an element to get a full description.

You can also choose Chemistry to get general information.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

States of Matter

Atoms and molecules can make a variety of states of matter such as solids, liquids and gases. You can find out more about states of matter at these great sites.

Science Learning

This website gives a good explanation of states of matter, with helpful definitions of related keywords like matter, elements and compound chemicals.

  1. Search using your keyword 'matter'.
  2. Select States of matter.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g. 'chemistry' We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

BBC Bitesize

This is also a very good website to go to if you want to know more about this topic (note that most of the videos won't work here in New Zealand, but you can still use the articles and revision information).

  1. Search using some keywords like 'states of matter'
  2. Choose an article that is relevant, like What are the States of matter?
  3. Or you can select by level.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Acids and bases

Some chemical compounds can be categorized as acidic or basic. This is decided based on their pH level, which is measured on a scale of 0 to 14.

Khan Academy

This is a great place to find out more about acids and bases. It's a free website filled with educational videos on a range of topics, including science.

  • Try selecting Science & engineering.
  • Then Chemistry.
  • Then Acids and bases.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are. For example the About link on the Khan Academy page shows us that Khan Academy is partnered with lots of other reliable organisations, like NASA and MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a very prestigious university).

No Brain Too Small

If you are doing NCEA and want to brush up on or revise your chemistry skills, this is a great place to go. This site is run by New Zealand science teachers, and the content is aligned to NCEA.

  1. Try Chemistry level 2.
  2. Choose Miscellaneous.
  3. Select Acids and bases revision.

Explore the site to find more information.

Books

There are many books on Chemistry. Some recommended titles are:

SCIS no: 1832688
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