The periodic table was originally developed and modified to take advantage of the recurring properties of the elements. This activity is introduces this concept of periodicity and serves as an excellent example of classifying and organizing, without overwhelming students with detailed element information.
This discovery activity consists of a set of twenty cards. Nineteen of the cards have a shape that has between three and seven sides. The shape will either be small, medium, large, or extra large. Additionally, the shapes will be colored red, blue, or yellow. One card is designated as a mystery card, and will not have a shape.
Students will be placed in small groups, and each group will be given a set of cards. After providing minimal directions, they will be first asked to construct a table from the cards that emphasizes patterns in both the rows and columns. Then, they will determine the location of the mystery card, and finally, will describe the properties of the mystery card based on its location on the table. Following the completion of the activity, the students are prepared to begin discussion of the development and arrangement of periodic table of the elements.