The Periodic Table

by Christine Salstrand

Periodic Table imagemap


       The periodic table is a classification scheme of the elements. Through the various activities in this lesson, you will discover how the table is organized and determine the many patterns of physical and chemical properties of the elements within this table. By utilizing the various web sites you should come to a better understanding of the wealth of information available in the chemist's most important reference, the periodic table of the elements.

Click  on each of the following sections to find assignments and the web sites.

dots-cubes-diamonds"History of the Periodic Table
dots-cubes-diamonds"Arrangement of the Periodic Table
dots-cubes-diamonds" Periodic Trends
dots-cubes-diamonds" Pick an Element
dots-cubes-diamonds"Additional Resources

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symbols   History of the Periodic Table

    As scientists began to discover more and more elements and understood their physical characteristics and chemical reactivity, they noticed that some elements seemed similar to others. They tried to find ways to organize the elements into a classification scheme.

    Give a presentation on the history of the periodic table. Your presentation can be paper, web
    page, oral report, or visual display. Include these points:

dots-cubes-diamonds" What are some of the important historical events that lead to the periodic table?
dots-cubes-diamonds"  Describe early classification schemes. Why do you think Mendeleev's system was superior?
dots-cubes-diamonds"  What changes have been made to the table since Mendeleev?
dots-cubes-diamonds"  Read a biographical sketch of Mendeleev and one other scientist who contributed to the

History of the Periodic Table to the latest developments
A short history of the periodic table
The Periodic Table
History of the table with links to original papers
Dmitrii Mendeleev
Mendeleev's original paper
An excellent biography of Mendeleev
Chemical Sciences: Atoms and Molecules: Empirical Periodic Chart of the Elements
Information on atomic mass and early versions of table
Dmitriy Mendeleev Online
A web page of links on the periodic table



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symbols Arrangement of the Periodic Table

     The periodic table is constructed in a way that reflects the distribution of electrons in the atoms of the elements. Remember, Mendeleev knew nothing about electrons. How was he able to establish these patterns without knowing this?

    1) Sketch a periodic table. Include information about groups, rows, the four blocks, metals
        and nonmetals, and representative and transitions elements. Be able to explain the electron
        configuration that determines an elements position in the table.
    2) Play the Mendeleev Card Game symbols  (Pick up instructions)
         Mendeleev wrote elements and their properties on cards and sorted them by group and
         rank. You will do likewise in this card game.

CD-ROM Saunders Interactive Chemistry
HyperChemistry on the Web
A periodic table includes many of the key designations; click on elements to find electron configuration and other descriptions.
CHEMystery: The Periodic Table of the Elements
Good descriptions of major chemical categories such as transition metals, nonmetals, etc.



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symbolssymbols  Periodic Trends

    One reason that the periodic table is valuable, is that there are many patterns in it that allow a knowledgeable person to use it as a tool. Chemists are able to find new applications for elements and their compounds and create new materials. As we move across and down the table, we see a regular variation in many physical and chemical properties of the elements. Understanding why these patterns exist allows us to predict chemical behaviors and utilize them for our benefit.

    1) Perform lab: Trends in solubility and density (See Addison-Wesley Lab Manual)

    2) Find information about the properties: atomic radius, ionic radius, ionization energy,
dots-cubes-diamonds" Describe the pattern (include pictures, graphs, charts, and written statements
            as you  wish).
dots-cubes-diamonds" Explain the basis for these patterns.

    3) Construct the mystery periodic table

Graphs of Different Properties
Atomic radius and ionization energy trends shown graphically
Chemicool Periodic Table
Great descriptions of physical and chemical properties; click on the elements
CHEMystery: The Periodic Table of the Elements
Good descriptions of major chemical categories such as transition metals, nonmetals, etc.
Periodic Table of the Elements
Click on periodicity to see an visual of trends
 MIT 3.091 Periodic Table of the Elements: Atomic Number
Terrific site showing trends in both the table as data and in a graph


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symbols Pick an Element
    Every element has a story. Sometimes how an element is discovered is interesting, like the alkali metals and the noble gases. Other interesting questions are:

dots-cubes-diamonds"What do we use this element for?
dots-cubes-diamonds"What kind of compounds does it form?
dots-cubes-diamonds"How important is it?
dots-cubes-diamonds"Where do we find these elements?
dots-cubes-diamonds"How plentiful is it?
dots-cubes-diamonds"How was it discovered?
    Choose one element or a group of elements, answer the questions above, and present your findings to the class.

A Periodic Table of the Elements at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Great descriptions of elements: history, uses, properties, sources
Periodic Table: Webelements
One of the best sites for information.



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        Other resources
Chemistry Teaching Resources - Periodic Tables and Related Material
Chemical Education Resources
Yahoo! Science:Chemistry
The Periodic Table of Poetry
These two are just for fun
 Chemical Comics

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Mystery Periodic Table

Construct a periodic table of the representative elements of the first four rows from the clues provided. See if you understand the patterns. The following sets of elements belong together:
                   ZRD,  PSIF,  JXBE,  LHT,  QKA,  WOV,  GUN,  YMC
Here are the clues:

I would like to give credit for this activity to the proper author, but I do not know who he is.


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