Guide for “Getting to the Periodic Table”
area and grade levels
area and grade levels
Physical sciences and
chemistry for grades 6-8.
Where did the Periodic Table of the Elements come from?
Scientists striving to determine the fundamental
units of matter conducted experiments that led to new discoveries even
when their efforts lacked good scientific methods. These pathfinders laid
the foundation for the theory that everything is made up of the elements,
and soon scientists wanted to know more -- what made up the elements?
By analyzing patterns in atomic weight and properties of the elements,
Mendeleyev came up with an enduring model that would become the repository
for so much of what future scientists would discover about the nature
of matter. Highlights include:
- Important scientists
(Mendeleyev, Boyle, Lavoisier, Cavendish, Dalton)
- Theories and models
(Boyle’s Law, the Periodic Table)
Standards for middle/junior high school
Learning Standard 12C:
Know and apply concepts that describe properties of matter and energy
and the interactions between them.
12.C.3a Explain interactions of energy with matter including changes of
state and conservation of mass and energy.
12.C.3b Model and
describe the chemical and physical characteristics of matter (e.g., atoms,
molecules, elements, compounds, mixtures).
Learning Standard 13B:
Know and apply concepts that describe the interaction between science,
technology and society.
13.B.3b Identify important contributions to science and technology that
have been made by individuals and groups from various cultures.
Science Education Standards content standards for 5th-8th grade
Unifying Concepts and Processes Standard: Systems, Order, and Organization;
Evidence, Models, and Explanation; Constancy, Change, and Measurement
Content Standard A Science as Inquiry: Understandings about Scientific
• Different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific
investigations. Some investigations involve observing and describing objects,
organisms, or events; some involve collecting specimens; some involve
experiments; some involve seeking more information; some involve discovery
of new objects and phenomena; and some involve making models.
• Scientific investigations sometimes result in new ideas and phenomena
for study, generate new methods or procedures for an investigation, or
develop new technologies to improve the collection of data. All of these
results can lead to new investigations.
Content Standard B Physical Science: Properties and Changes of
Properties in Matter
• A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a
boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount
of the sample. A mixture of substances often can be separated into the
original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties.
• Substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other
substances to form new substances (compounds) with different characteristic
properties. In chemical reactions, the total mass is conserved. Substances
often are placed in categories or groups if they react in similar ways;
metals is an example of such a group.
• Chemical elements do not break down during normal laboratory reactions
involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or
reaction with acids. There are more than 100 known elements that combine
in a multitude of ways to produce compounds, which account for the living
and nonliving substances that we encounter.
Content Standard E Science and Technology: Understandings about Science
• Many different people in different cultures have made and continue
to make contributions to science and technology.
Content Standard G History and Nature of Science: Science as
• Women and men of various social and ethnic backgrounds--and with
diverse interests, talents, qualities, and motivations--engage in the
activities of science, engineering, and related fields such as the health
professions. Some scientists work in teams, and some work alone, but all
communicate extensively with others.
• Science requires different abilities, depending on such factors
as the field of study and type of inquiry. Science is very much a human
endeavor, and the work of science relies on basic human qualities, such
as reasoning, insight, energy, skill, and creativity--as well as on scientific
habits of mind, such as intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity,
skepticism, and openness to new ideas.
Content Standard G History and Nature of Science: Nature of Science
• Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature using
observation, experiments, and theoretical and mathematical models. Although
all scientific ideas are tentative and subject to change and improvement
in principle, for most major ideas in science, there is much experimental
and observational confirmation. Those ideas are not likely to change greatly
in the future. Scientists do and have changed their ideas about nature
when they encounter new experimental evidence that does not match their
• In areas where active research is being pursued and in which there
is not a great deal of experimental or observational evidence and understanding,
it is normal for scientists to differ with one another about the interpretation
of the evidence or theory being considered. Different scientists might
publish conflicting experimental results or might draw different conclusions
from the same data. Ideally, scientists acknowledge such conflict and
work towards finding evidence that will resolve their disagreement.
• It is part of scientific inquiry to evaluate the results of scientific
investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical models, and the
explanations proposed by other scientists. Evaluation includes reviewing
the experimental procedures, examining the evidence, identifying faulty
reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting
alternative explanations for the same observations. Although scientists
may disagree about explanations of phenomena, about interpretations of
data, or about the value of rival theories, they do agree that questioning,
response to criticism, and open communication are integral to the process
of science. As scientific knowledge evolves, major disagreements are eventually
resolved through such interactions between scientists.
Content Standard G History and Nature of Science: History of
• Many individuals have contributed to the traditions of science.
Studying some of these individuals provides further understanding of scientific
inquiry, science as a human endeavor, the nature of science, and the relationships
between science and society.
• In historical perspective, science has been practiced by different
individuals in different cultures. In looking at the history of many peoples,
one finds that scientists and engineers of high achievement are considered
to be among the most valued contributors to their culture.
• Tracing the history of science can show how difficult it was for
scientific innovators to break through the accepted ideas of their time
to reach the conclusions that we currently take for granted.