While we are very proud of all parts of our site, we would like to highlight some of the things that we think are really cool.
The number one highlight is the Virtual Miner. We put in a lot of work to find which countries are big producers of the twenty common metals. This information is scattered over many sources. We pulled all of these together into a big spreadsheet.
Next, we found and downloaded a copyright-free map of the world. The map has countries colored in. It is large enough to show all countries clearly, including small ones like the French New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean and Guinea in Africa. We used the colors of different countries to pick out the top five producers of each metal with Adobe Photoshop. Finally, we made the selected countries active areas, so that they respond to mouseovers and mouse clicks. We did this twenty times, once for each metal. By the way, we wrote separate messages for each metal and each country, and we tell you how much of the metal is produced by a country when you click on the right country.
We have made printable versions of all our information pages. They are formatted properly for printing, and will not waste ink on the printer with dark backgrounds and borders. We hope teachers will find these pages useful to distribute to students.
We also made four videos on Metals. "Did You Know?", our opening video, provides a quick overview of our site: metals, their history, and their dark side. "Metals In Daily Life" shows how you and I use metals every day. "The History of Metals for Dummies" is a funny account of the evolution of metals through the ages. We also have drawn a cartoon strip on "the History of Warfare". One of us played the piano for "Metals in Daily Life."
On the Fun Stuff page, we have many metal-related activities. A nice crossword, a fable we re-tell to show the value of metals, and a story of how knowing the properties of metals led to the discovery of a famous scientific principle. There is a funny cartoon strip on the History of Warfare. We have quizzes about History of Metals, and another one on the Dark Side of Metals. The third quiz on Common Metals has two levels, the first easy, and the next harder.
We tried to match the background color of each page on the twenty common metals to the color of that metal. We have also used metallic colors for our banner, buttons, and pop-ups, to give our site that "metal" look.
Last but not least is our hand-drawn logo. The shield protects us, the sword is for fighting back. The axe and the hammer are tools for peaceful tasks, but they can also be used for defense. Together, they show the awesome power of metals, in war and in peace.