Using AACT Resources to Teach Periodic Trends

By Kim Duncan on March 3, 2016

The concepts of periodic trends are difficult for students to understand in all levels of chemistry. Beyond having a basic understanding, it seems even more difficult for them to apply concepts such as electron configurations and basic atomic structure to higher level material such as ionization energy and atomic or ionic radius.

ptrendsThere are several learning objectives (shown in the box on the right) in the AP Chemistry Curriculum Framework that are found in Big Idea 1: The chemical elements are fundamental building materials of matter, all matter can be understood in terms of arrangements of atoms. These atoms retain their identity in chemical reactions”

The AACT high school resource page has several activities that you will help your students review material learned in the first year course and apply them to the concepts of periodic trends.

  • Have your students review the concepts of valence electrons and electron configurations using the E-config Battleship or Box Valence Electrons.
  • From the March issue of Chemistry Solutions, students can use the Periodic Trends simulation to investigate the periodic trends of atomic radius, ionization energy, and ionic radius. Atoms can be selected for a side by side comparison and analysis. Quantitative data is also available for each periodic trend, and can be further examined in a graph.
  • Do you ever wonder where student misconceptions start? Read “The Tale of Two Chemistries,” by Dusty Carroll, in the March 2015 issue of Chemistry Solutions to find out how do develop your student into critical thinkers.
  • The Periodic Trends Investigation activity helps students examine and explain trends in atomic radius and ionization energy using an interactive periodic table.
  • Students can then use their understanding of periodic trends to assemble a fictitious periodic table with the Trends of the Periodic Table or Mendeleev’s Cards or Make a Periodic Table
  • Do your students need to review their ions? The Trade Ions activity can be used to refresh their memory!

Do you have a great AP demonstration, activity, or lesson about Periodic Trends that you would like to share with the community? We are proud to feature teacher-submitted activities in the classroom resource collection. If you want to share something you use in your classroom with the community, please send it along for consideration.