Reading the Periodic Table Activity


Use as an inquiry-based introduction OR a review activity of how to read the periodic table of elements.

Grades 7 and Up

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TWO VERSIONS! Use as an inquiry-based introduction OR a review activity of how to read the periodic table of elements – perfect for middle school.

Version One – For Classes With No Periodic Table Background (Inquiry-Based Intro): Students follow along with an activity sheet that clearly directs them step-by-step.

  • Identify similarities and differences between atoms
  • Match periodic table boxes to atom drawings
  • Answer analysis questions and complete a Claims-Evidence-Reasoning grid
  • Use what they’ve learned about the periodic table to draw an atom.

Version Two – For Classes That Have a Periodic Table Background (Review): Use this as an interactive review. Have students match atom picture cards to periodic table boxes and have them justify their matches using their knowledge of subatomic particles (electrons, protons, neutrons), atomic number, and atomic mass. Students complete an analysis and review section.

Both versions cover the following topics: atomic number, atomic mass, protons, electrons, neutrons, the basics of energy levels, and the basics of charges on atoms.

Teacher Notes:

  • Atom cards are provided in both black and white and color.
  • Supports: NGSS MS-PS1-1
  • Related NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Constructing explanations and designing solutions; Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Includes printable periodic table and answer keys.
  • Please note that this reading the periodic table activity is not editable.


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