In this activity, students build a simplified periodic table using pictures of atoms. This exercise shows the relationships between the atoms' structure and the table's organization.


Students will see that the table’s rows correspond to atoms' number of orbits and the column's correspond to atoms' outer electrons. Often students start with the table to study atoms, but here we begin with atoms to study the table. Only the first 20 elements are used.


Use this to learn and reinforce answers to questions such as:

❑  What does an element’s location in the periodic table tell you about its atomic structure?

❑  How do elements differ from each other in terms of electrons?

❑  Where are the electrons in an atom located?


Once students work through the activity, they can capture their observations using the included Lab Notes or probing questions included in the instructions. 


Concepts Addressed

♦  The periods (or rows) in a periodic table show the number of shells an atom of that element has.

♦  The group number in a periodic table indicates the number of outer electrons for an atom of that element.

♦  Atoms have a specific arrangement of electrons.

♦  The atomic number equals the number of electrons in a neutral atom.


Standards Addressed

TEKS8.5A; 8.5C; 8.3B

VA SOL Science6.4b; 6.4c; PS 3b; PS 4a; 

GSE S8P1 (part e)


Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.


Materials Needed     Copies of cards which can be made on cardstock and/or laminated if desired. Directions are designed to be non-consumable and go straight into students’ hands without additional explanation.


Prep Time  Photocopying and cutting apart cards. One set per lab group.


Teaching Time   About 20 mins or more depending on accompanying writing assignment.


Student Sheets   Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 

Periodic Table of Elements Activity: Construct a Simple One—A Visual Exercise


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

    Connect with me: If you have questions or problems, please let me know and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


    This resource (along with all resources sold on this site) can be found inside the membership. For information on that option, click here.

    Terms of Use   Copyright © Carolyn Balch. All rights reserved by the author. This product is to be used by the original downloader only. Copying for more than one teacher, classroom, department, school, or school system is prohibited. This product may not be distributed or displayed digitally for public view. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.