A soup may contain a variety of ingredients such as potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. The cook has added different vegetables, each with its own distinct properties, to make one dish. Elements are like the ingredients in a bowl of vegetable soup. They are substances comprised of only one kind of atom. They each have their own distinct properties. They combine to make up compounds. For example, when the elements hydrogen and oxygen combine, the resulting compound is water. At the present time, 114 elements have been identified.

While elements have their own names, scientists use one- and two-letter chemical symbols to denote them. For instance, carbon is referred to as C while sodium is Na. These chemical symbols are derived from the elements’ names. To illustrate, C comes from the first letter in the word “carbon.” The chemical symbol for sodium is taken from the first two letters of natrium, the Latin word for sodium.

Remember the soup we talked about earlier? Each of the vegetables had been placed in a bowl. Well, all of the known elements are found in what is called the periodic table. Here, they are placed in rows and columns, with closely related elements grouped together. Click here to learn more about how elements are arranged in the periodic table. Once you have finished, click the “back” button in your browser to return to this page. Then type your answer the questions below in the box. Then, check to see if you are correct.

1.     Elements are placed in specific places because of ___.

2.     Each row in the periodic table is considered to be different ___.

3.     All elements in a period have the same ___.

4.     Every element in the first period has ___ for its electrons, and elements in the second period have ___ for their electrons.

5.     Describe a column.

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