Reading The Periodic Table

Evelyn Williams John Hope Community Academy
5515 S. Lowe Ave.
Chicago IL 60621


This lesson is designed for 8th Grade students.
Students will be able to:
1) Categorize a group of shells and unknown elements using different
2) Read and interpret the Periodic Table.

Materials Needed:

1. One set of assorted shells for each group.
2. One set of cards with four identifying characteristics of the 25 mystery
elements on individual cards.
Each card should list A. metal, nonmetal or metalloid
B. kind of ion
C. atomic weight
D. physical description
3. A completed Periodic Table for each student.
4. A blank Periodic Table Worksheet for each student.
5. Crayons.


Introduction: Begin the lesson by discussing ways that we sort things everyday
to make our lives easier. We sort clothes before and after we wash them. We
sort things in our kitchen cabinets. Scientists organized the Periodic Table
to make the study and use of chemistry easier and more uniformed.


Part 1
Take all the shells out of the container. Each team must sort the shells.
Each team must come up with at least two ways to categorize the shells.
Each team must justify all final solutions.

Group discussion of the results.

Part 2
Take the 25 mystery element cards and come up with the best possible way to
categorize them. Try several ways, but you must agree on just one way. Be
ready to defend your solution.

Group discussion of the results. Groups should give rationales for their
sorting patterns and compare results.

Part 3 (More of an individual assignment)
Look at your cards, your completed Periodic Table, and your blank Periodic
Table worksheet and write the correct element symbol, atomic weight and its
name on your worksheet.

Color all the metals red, orange or pink.
Color all the nonmetals green or blue.
Color all the metalloids purple

Performance Assessment:

1. Given a list of element symbols, students will match them with the correct
2. Given a list of characteristics for a group of elements, students will
complete sample entries from the Periodic Table to fill in the missing
3. Students will write a short paragraph explaining what they learned.
The correct use of the following words will earn them 10 points for each
word. Word list: Periodic Table, atomic weight, atomic number, element,
electrons, ions, metal, nonmetal, metalloid and symbol.

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