8.5 (C) interpret the arrangement of the Periodic Table, including groups and periods, to explain how properties are used to classify elements;
8.3 (D) relate the impact of research on scientific thought and society, including the history of science and contributions of scientists as related to the content.
This activity is designed to help students explore patterns found in a group of given pictures and correlate them to patterns found in the periodic table of elements. The patterns in the figures provide an opportunity for students to find arrangements within a given set of physical characteristics to determine what a “missing person” looks like. The figure’s traits in the activity are representative of characteristics in atoms on the periodic table including the group number, valence electrons, electron shells or energy levels, atomic mass, atomic number, and whether the atoms will give up or accept charge (leading into reactivity and bonding in future lessons).
Students should be familiar with concepts including atomic structure, location and charges of subatomic particles, electron shell configuration (up to the first three rings), how to calculate atomic mass, protons give the identity of the atom, and be familiar with reading information from the periodic table to identify the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons for any atom. Check out my lesson “Atom Identification Lab” and “Atomic Structure: APE MAN” for a few ideas on how to get students to this point.
This activity has seen many adaptations and variations. One of the more popular can be found from resources from Oakland Schools in Michigan (google - periodic table arrangement activity). That version and many others are geared towards a high school setting with a lot of information including ion energy, electron affinity, and other information that middle school students don’t need to be introduced to just yet (at least in depth). Taking the design given to me by a former mentor of mine, Mr. Sharp, this activity is very similar to others but missing a lot of the extra information that can be saved for high school chemistry.