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How the Periodic Table Challenge Works

Interactive Learning Paradigms Incorporated

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Intro and Philosophy

OK, here's how it works

The Classic Challenging Version:

  1. The Periodic Challenge page contains two very important components which may not be immediately obvious. First, the page is an HTML form which means that it is configured to send any data that you might enter to our web server. Second, the blank periodic table is displayed. The table you see is simply an HTML table, so it is pretty easy to construct. The boxes where you enter your answers are form input fields which permit only 0 to 2 characters of input. Everything up to this point you can check out on your own by viewing the source document from your browser.

    Note: The next step is new as of September 2004. See the Revision History below on how our web server used to handle the grading task.

  2. When you hit the Submit button, our web server's form parser echoes your data to the results page. There, a JavaScript routine grades your results. All it has to do is compare the name of the box you filled in to the value you entered. If they match then you're correct. If the two don't match then you're incorrect. If you didn't put in an answer, then that is noted, too. In programming terms, the grading is a simple "with x = 1 to 112" loop and the rest is just table formatting and extras like the hints/comments or an occasional graphic.

The Easier Instant Version:

    As with the Challenging Classic Version, everything is set up as an HTML table. But this time, the data is not submitted and then redrawn. Instead, as soon as you enter your guess for an element, a JavaScript routine immediately checks the answer and adjusts your score. If you answer is wrong, it replaces it with a "*" so you can identify which ones are not yet correct.

    In addition, this version sports an auto-hints feature. When this is turned on, you'll receive a popup dialog if you have guessed wrong more than 3 or more times on a particular element. The hint is the first letter of the element if the element symbol has two letters. If the element symbol has only one letter, the hint tells you so.

    Another nice touch in this version is that it tells you the number of incorrect attempts you have made. After all, anyone can get all 112 elements, but only the best will do it without making any mistakes. I have also added a timer which stops when the table is correctly completed. This enables our visitors to have a contest to see who can complete the table with the fewest errors in the shortest amount of time. To make the determination of a winner fair, I suggest adding a predefined time penalty (5 or 10 seconds) for each incorrect answer; this is a feature I can add at a later date.

Revision History

Selected Viewer Comments

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This page was last updated Monday, September 3, 2018 and has been visited 73756 times since its birth on 08/30/96.

This page and the Periodic Table Challenge are copyright 1995-2024 by Rob Toreki. All rights reserved.