The Periodic Table Unit Plan (39 Favorites)

LESSON PLAN in Periodic Table. Last updated May 15, 2019.


The AACT high school classroom resource library and multimedia collection has everything you need to put together a unit plan for your classroom: lessons, activities, labs, projects, videos, simulations, and animations. We constructed a unit plan using AACT resources that is designed to teach the Periodic Table to your students.

Grade Level

High school


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

  • Understand how the periodic table is organized and classify elements by family name, group number, and period number.
  • Recognize the pattern of the physical properties of the elements with relationship to period and column.
  • Understand and be able to predict the trends of atomic radius, ionic radius, and ionization energy.
  • Identify unknown elements based on their properties of atomic radius, malleability, conductivity, and ionization energy.
  • Classify an element as a metal, nonmetal, or metalloid based on its physical and chemical properties.
  • Recognize the contributions to the organization of the periodic table over time by important scientists.
  • Understand that the current periodic table was developed over time based on many discoveries, models and revisions.

Chemistry Topics

This lesson supports students’ understanding of

  • Periodic Table
  • Physical Properties
  • Periodic Trends
  • Atomic Radius
  • Ionic Radius
  • Ionization Energy
  • Metallic Properties


Teacher Preparation: See individual resources

Lesson: 7–10 class periods, depending upon class level


  • Refer to the materials list given with each individual activity.


  • Refer to the safety instructions given for each individual activity.

Teacher Notes

  • The activities shown below are listed in the order that they should be completed. 
  • The teacher notes, student handouts, and additional materials can be accessed on the page for each individual activity.
  • Please note that most of these resources are AACT member benefits.

Classroom Resources:

  • Aliens Activity: Introduce the unit by having your students complete this activity. Students organize alien cards into groups and periods following trends, similar to how the periodic table is put together. The teacher can remove two cards from each student’s deck, and after they organize the cards the students can predict (draw) the missing aliens.

  • History of the Periodic Table: This Founders of Chemistry video tells the story of the development of the periodic table and pays tribute to each of the major scientific contributors who made great discoveries through their efforts to best organize the elements. All of the videos in this series include student activity sheets that include questions for students to answer as they view them.

  • Dmitri Mendeleev: You may also want to show your students this Founders of Chemistry video, which tells the story of Dmitri Mendeleev, who organized the periodic table, even leaving gaps to be filled in with elements that weren't yet discovered.

  • Make a Periodic Table Activity: Use this activity to get a quick assessment of your students’ understanding of the organization of the Periodic Table. Students use imaginary elements to create a periodic table based on the known properties of those elements. The answer key is available.
  • Periodic Trends: Ionization Energy, Atomic Radius& Ionic Radius: Use this simulation and the accompanying Simulation: Periodic Trends activity to further explore this topic. In the simulation, students will investigate several periodic trends, including atomic radius, ionization energy and ionic radius. Through the use of this simulation students will have the opportunity to examine atomic data as well as visually compare and interact with select elements from the periodic table. The answer key is available.
  • This activity can be used to formally or informally access your student’s understanding of periodic trends. Students will use their knowledge of Periodic Trends and a set of Mendeleev’s Cards to analyze and identify unknown elements and organize them correctly in the Periodic Table.
  • Metal, Nonmetal, or Metalloid?: Finish the unit with this lab activity, which allows students to classify several samples of elements as metals, nonmetals, or metalloid based on their physical and chemical properties.
  • Periodic Table of…Mistakes: This resource is from the May 2017 issue of Chemistry Solutions and can be used as a classroom activity or even as an informal assessment at the end of the unit. This fun activity challenges students to find 25 errors, such as element name, symbol, placement and trends, on our Periodic Table of Mistakes. A correct version of the table and an answer key are also available with this resource.
  • ChemMatters: Use The Many Looks of the Periodic Table (October 2008) article as the basis for an extension activity or project at the end of the chapter. It can also be used as a way to enhance science literacy skills.