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We're going to begin learning about the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Look carefully at the list which your teacher will prepare for you. It is the numerals from 1 to 50 in one long line.

Discuss whether there is a special sequence to the numerals (from the symbol representing the least to the symbol representing the most).

Compare this listing of numerals with a list of the 92 natural elements. (They could be seriated from the lightest to the heaviest or from the element made up of the fewest protons and electrons to the element made up of the most.)

Now the teacher will rearrange the numerals into columns.

You will realize that the arrangement not only indicates the sequence from smallest to largest; it adds a set of patterns that reveal some commonalities among numerals in vertical sequences.

Make analogies between the numerals and the symbols in the Periodic Table of Elements. Commonalities among elements are revealed in vertical rows: the elements in the first row react with water (lithium reacts slowly; sodium quickly; potassium, very quickly; rubidium, violently); the elements in the last row are very stable rare gases, difficult to combine with other elements.)

Next, look at an arrangement of the alphabet, and indicate any patterns you can find (e.g., the vowels are lined up in the first row; letters which produce the same sound in
certain words are found in the third row; no letters are left over).

Create other arrangements of the alphabet to reveal different patterns.

You might also be interested in researching the work of Demitri Mendeleev (1834-1907), the Russian chemist who discovered that every seventh element is similar.

Because in Mendeleev's arrangement of atomic elements similar patterns repeat periodically, his arrangement became known as the “Periodic Table of the Elements.”

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