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NOVA Elements app review: watch, play, and interact with the elements that make up everything



NOVA Elements is an educational app by PBS. The app is hosted by David Pogue, a technology reviewer who knows a lot about the elements. This app includes a two-hour TV special, Hunting the Elements, a game, David Pogue’s Essential Elements, and a fully interactive periodic table of elements.

The whole app is voiced by David Pogue. As this is an educational app, this app is mainly aimed at kids in their early teens who want to learn more about science and the building blocks of everything that exists in the universe.

NOVA Elements


The Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

The app offers a fully interactive periodic table of elements, giving you access to all the information available on the element in-app. As well as a history of each element, it also shows what makes up each element.

What is really cool is that you can build each element out of neutrons, protons, and electrons. This is a very clever way to learn how each element is created. You can also add more neutrons to the element and get different isotopes, though the main goal is to create the most common one.


The TV Special and David Pogue’s Game

If you live within the U.S., you can watch the TV Special, aired by PBS in 2012, for free within the app. It contains twelve chapters. This TV show is regrettably not available for viewers outside the United States.

In David Pogue’s Essential Elements you need to create everyday objects by using the different building blocks. You use the atoms to create the molecules that make up these everyday objects. You need to create the different atoms from scratch as well, in which you use the atom builder. All of these building games are timed, so you need to hurry up while choosing the correct amount of protons, neutrons, and electrons! Because the chemical name for the molecule is shown, you can easily guess which element needs to be in which place. You get rewarded with a little video of David Pogue using the object. There are only five different objects you can create, but it’s a great way to learn how chemistry works!


NOVA Elements


Pros and Cons


  • Very educational
  • Great production value
  • A highly informative periodic table of elements
  • Fun game



  • The TV special is not available to watch outside the United States
  • iPad only



As far as educational apps go, this is a fantastic one. Everyone who is starting to learn about chemistry and the periodic table of elements will find this app hugely informative and the approach is really playful. Creating your own elements and using them to build everyday objects is a fantastic way to learn about the uses of chemistry in our daily lives. The app requires about 121 MB and is only compatible with your iPad. Whenever you feel like science, this should be the app for you!

NOVA Elements

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Cherry is a hard-working writer and an aspiring web designer who can't go a day without using her favorite apps. She's always on the lookout for new apps and enjoys discovering ones that others have overlooked.