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Simulation Activity: What Type of Element Are You? Mark as Favorite (12 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Elements, Interdisciplinary, Periodic Table. Last updated August 31, 2023.


In this activity, students will take a nine question personality quiz to determine which of four types of elements best matches their personality. They will then have an opportunity to reflect on why their answers led to their final quiz results and to consider what the "personality profile" of other types of elements not included in this quiz might look like.

Grade Level

Middle School, High School


By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Identify groups of elements on the periodic table and their properties.
  • Engage in fun and creative thinking about the periodic table, types of elements, and the properties of elements.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of:

  • Elements
  • Periodic Table


Teacher Preparation: minimal

Lesson: 20-30 minutes



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

Teacher Notes

  • The simulation can be found at the following link (note that students can access the simulation without an AACT login):
  • This simulation can be used at any time of the year, and might be a good ice-breaker activity with a new group of students. Students may get more out of the activity below if they have some familiarity with the different groups of elements on the periodic table.
  • The personality quiz consists of nine questions with four answer choices, each corresponding to one of the following types of elements: alkali metals, transition metals, metalloids, or noble gases. The final results screen will show how many answers they selected in each category, as well as a summary of the personality characteristics that correlate to the properties of that type of element.
  • Some of the questions on the student handout are more of an ice-breaker style, others have students think more about the chemistry concepts. Edit/remove/add questions to suit the needs of your classroom.
  • The questions and the answer choices will be randomized each time the quiz is taken, so students will not see the questions in the same order as their peers. If students repeat the quiz, they will see the same questions and answer choices but in a different order.
  • Question 6 in the student handout asks students to identify types of elements that were not accounted for in the quiz. There are many possible answers to this question – some of the more common ones might include alkaline earth metals, halogens, or inner transition metals. Others might be more based on properties – elements that are liquids at room temperature, radioactive elements, metals that aren’t silver-colored, etc. See how creative your students can be!
  • The personality descriptions corresponding to the four types of elements and the reasoning behind them are as follows:
    • “Alkali Metal: Like the highly reactive alkali metals, you are rarely found without your friends. You are very social and play an important role in the lives of others. You can be exciting and spontaneous, some might even say dramatic – but you always spice up the party!”
      • This description is based on the highly reactive nature of alkali metals and how they can have very dramatic reactions and are rarely found in their pure form, separate from other elements. Some of them, like sodium and potassium, play important biological roles. (And “spice” is a reference to sodium in salt!) The answer choices for this quiz that correspond to the alkali metals relate to being exciting, social, busy, and/or dramatic in nature.
    • “Transition Metal: Like the strong transition metals, you are reliable and steady. Your colorful personality really shines when you are with your friends, who know they can depend on you to be a source of strength and support.”
      • This description is based on the fact that we depend on many transition metals when strength is required – for example, steel is mostly made of transition metal iron, in combination with carbon and/or other transition metals such as molybdenum, manganese, chromium, or nickel. Titanium is used in situations where light weight, resistance to corrosion, and strength are required, such as in joint replacements. Transition metals generally have high melting/boiling points and are hard, tough, and dense, and they also tend to form brightly colored compounds when they react with other elements. Their ions are often responsible for the colors of gemstones. The answer choices for this quiz that correspond to the transition metals relate to strength, reliability, stability, and/or bright color.
    • “Metalloid: Like the adaptable metalloids, you have wide-ranging abilities and skills that are useful in a variety of different situations. Your style defies classification, and your outside-the-box thinking makes you a creative and innovative problem solver.”
      • This description is based on the wide-ranging uses of metalloids. The properties of metalloids can shift depending on the conditions they’re in, including temperature, pressure, and what other types of elements are nearby. In their pure form, they are similar to metals in some ways, nonmetals in other ways – they don’t fit neatly in either category. Scientists manipulate the conditions surrounding metalloid atoms to create lots of different useful materials – alloys, semiconductors, heat resistant glass, silicone, etc. Many new technologies rely on these elements. The answer choices for this quiz that correspond to the metalloids relate to adaptability, change, variety, and/or technology.
    • “Noble Gas: Like the non-reactive noble gases, you are independent and self-sufficient. You don’t need to be around others to be happy, and you enjoy quiet, solitary activities. You are calm and level-headed, even when everyone around you is creating drama.”
      • This description is based on noble gases being very non-reactive. They are on the opposite end of the reactivity spectrum from alkali metals. Noble gases do not easily form compounds and are almost always found alone in nature. Thus, the answer choices for this quiz that correspond to the noble gases relate to calmness, independence, and/or solitude.
  • Related resources from AACT Library that may be used to prepare for or further teach this topic:

For the Student


Go to https://teachchemistry.org/classroom-resources/what-type-of-element-are-you and complete the nine-question quiz to determine what type of element best matches your personality. (Stay on the final results page until told to do otherwise.)

Once you get your final results, answer the questions below:

  1. In the space below, write down how many answers you selected that corresponded to each type of element. Circle the type(s) of element you selected the most answers for. (You may circle more than one in the case of a tie.)
Alkali metals:Metalloids:
Transition metals:Noble Gases:
  1. Read the description provided for each element category, paying extra attention to your top choice category. Were there any parts of that description that described you very well? Any parts that didn’t match you at all? Write 1-2 sentences reflecting on which of the four categories (or, maybe, which combination of categories) you think best describes your personality and why.
  2. Pick one of the elements in your category and look up three interesting facts about it – what it’s used for, how it was discovered, how it got its name, what it looks like, etc. (Make sure your source is reliable and write the name of the source below.)
  3. Find another classmate who got the same top category as you. Talk to that classmate and write down their name and two things you have in common (hobbies, likes/dislikes, extracurricular activities, etc.).
  4. Re-read the descriptions for all four element categories. Come up with your own personality-quiz-style question and provide an answer choice that corresponds to each of the four categories. Explain why those answer choices reflect their category. (For fun, ask your question to a neighbor and see how they respond!)
  5. Only four types of elements were included in this quiz, but there are more types of elements on the periodic table. What is one other type of element that could be added to the quiz? What are three characteristics of that type of element, and what are human personality traits that might correspond with these characteristics? (Make sure any source you use is reliable and write the name of the sources below.)
  6. Now that you are familiar with the descriptions for each category, go back and take the quiz again. See if you can identify all the answers that go with one of the categories. (Ex: See if you can select all the noble gas answers, or all the alkali metal answers.)
  7. Pick one of the questions and write it below, along with the four answer choices. (You can start the quiz again if you need to.) Which answer do you think goes with which element category, and why?
  8. Draw a picture that represents your element group.