In this activity, students will use the online periodic table,, to investigate a number of chemistry concepts. Students will use this online resource to explore information about the elements, including historical data, physical properties, periodic trends and more.

Grade Level

High or middle school


By the end of this lesson, students should be able to

  • Better understand how the periodic table is organized.
  • Identify several trends on the periodic table.
  • Classify elements by family name, group number and period number.
  • Understand the periodic trend of atomic radius.

Chemistry Topics

  • Periodic Table
  • Periodic Trends
  • History
  • Physical Properties


Teacher Preparation: minimal

Lesson: 30-60 minutes (time will vary depending on activity chosen)


  • Computer, tablet or mobile device (internet access is needed)
  • Student handouts


  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • This activity includes three possible student lessons: a scavenger hunt, a periodic table investigation and self-guided investigation of atomic radius.

    • The Scavenger Hunt: This lesson will allow students to become familiar with It questions students as it walks them through the many features of the website. Students will investigate a large number of topics, from physical properties to history of the elements, and will conclude the activity by watching several videos available on the website.

    • Periodic Table Investigation: This lesson is a self-guided introduction to the basics of the periodic table, including grouping, family names and period assignments. Students will also investigate common properties within a family, identify numbers of valence electrons, and create Bohr models for elements.

    • Atomic Radius Exploration: This lesson is designed as a self-guided investigation for students to explore the trend in atomic radius on the periodic table. Students will collect and interpret data from this interact website to support their understanding of this trend.
  • There is an answer key provided for each of the student resources for the teacher’s reference.

  • Teachers should be actively involved in checking the students work, reviewing answers to ensure accuracy and elaborating on concepts when needed.

  • would be a valuable resource for many activities found in the AACT resource library, such as: Periodic Trends Investigation and Element Skit.