Chemistry 14

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The Elements

An element is a substance whose atoms all have the same number of protons. All of a particular element’s atoms have the same atomic number. Elements are chemically the simplest substances and cannot be broken down using chemical reactions. One hundred and eighteen (118) elements are displayed on the periodic table – representing all of the elements in the known universe. Of these, the first 92 are naturally occurring on Earth. The remaining have been “manufactured” in a lab. There are several interesting facts about each of the known elements. For example, oxygen makes up almost half of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and crust combined – but nitrogen is 78% of the air we breathe. Carbon is by far the most crucial element to living things, but hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen are crucial to cells of living things also. Each element has an interesting story – and purpose. Chemistry students become familiar with groups of like-kind elements and their patterns. All this helps shape our views, and deepens our knowledge and understanding of the world we live in.

Lesson 1 (or “Day 1”) Material
Lesson 2 (or “Day 2”) Material
Lesson 3 (or “Day 3”) Material
Lesson 4 (or “Day 4”) Material


3:07 The Element Song

2:12 How the Elements are Laid Out in the Periodic Table | Chemistry | The Fuse School

3:56 How The Elements Got Their Names

Compare Contrast and Debate

Kick-Off Debate Background: Names given to elements on the periodic table are derived from several different sources. For example, some elements are named after the individual credited for discovering it. Some elements are derived from the geographic location they were discovered. Others element names are derived from various languages, from mythology, from planet names, and other sources. Because of the inconsistency of naming – some believe it would be best to begin again and rename all of the elements using a consistent approach. Others argue that the historical names are not only sufficient, but important to maintaining a sense of history and honoring the original names.

  • Position A: The elements should be renamed using a consistent approach.
  • Position B: The elements should not be renamed – the historical names should be retained and honored.

Resources Documents and Links

Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:
  • Science & Engineering Practice: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Patterns.