Electron Configurations on the Periodic Table

Posted January 15, 2013

by Lensyl Urbano

Having demonstrated how to draw a few simple atoms, I had students fill out a periodic table template with drawings of the first twenty atoms. Actually, I only had them draw the electrons in their shells because it reduced the messiness of trying to fit in forty nuclear particles into a small tile, and the point I wanted to get at was the pattern of shells and valence electrons in the periodic table.

The end result looked something like this:

Students learn the relationship between electron configuration and position in the periodic table. Diagram by E.F..

All the drawing only took about 15 minutes, and once they’d figured out the first half dozen or so it started to get a little boring. But that freed up the cognitive resources so they could notice the two key patterns.

  • First, each row in the periodic table has an additional electron shell.
  • Second, as you go across a row you add one electron to the shell until it is filled.

It’s a first glimpse at the periodicity in the periodic table. And it sets us up nicely to be able to talk about chemical bonding.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Electron Configurations on the Periodic Table, Retrieved August 22nd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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