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The Simplest Matter

Chapter 1 Section 2

• An element is matter made from one type
of atom
• At least 115 elements are known and 90 of
them occur naturally on Earth.
• The other elements are known as synthetic
elements and were made in particle
accelerators involving nuclear reactions.

The Periodic Table

Dmitri Mendeleev

The Periodic Table
• Much like the Dewey Decimal system the periodic table
is a way of organizing the elements so that information
about them is easily accessible.
• Each element is represented by a symbol of 1 to 3
letters. This is part of an international system.
• The elements are organized based on their relationship
to each other. The rows are called periods.

The Periodic Table
• The elements in a row have the same number of energy
• The columns are called groups. The elements in each
group have similar properties related to their structure.
They also tend to form similar bonds.

Identifying Characteristics
An atom is classified according to the
number of its protons and neutrons.
The number of protons determines the
chemical element
The number of neutrons determines the
isotope of the element.

Atomic Number
In chemistry and physics,
the atomic number of
a chemical element is the
number of protons found
in the nucleus of
an atom of that element
For example helium has an
atomic number of 2 and so
has 2 protons.

Atomic Mass
As you can imagine atoms don’t weigh much.
In fact they are so light that we had to invent a
new unit to measure them (atomic mass unit –
We call this the atomic mass. This measures how
many protons and neutrons an atom has. 1 amu is
exactly 1/12 the mass of an atom of carbon-12.

• Although the number of protons changes from
element to element every atom of a particular
element has the same number of protons.
• The number of neutrons may vary
• For example some chlorine atoms have 18
neutrons (chlorine-35) and some have 20
(chlorine-37). They are called isotopes.
• You can tell someone exactly which isotope you
are referring to by using the mass number.

Carbon-12 has 6 protons and 6 neutrons in its nucleus.
The atomic mass is the average of all the isotopes of that
element – which is why the number often contains a
decimal point.

Atomic Number

The number of
protons and the
number of
neutrons always
adds up to the
atomic mass.


• Remember the protons carry a positive
charge and the neutrons a neutral charge
and electrons a negative charge.
• The overall charge of an element will be
neutral so there must be an equal number
of protons and electrons.

Electron Shells

Electrons Shells and Energy
Formula =2n2

Valance Electrons
The electrons in the outermost
shell are known as valance
electrons and they typically
determine how a molecule will
If the valance shell is full the
element will be fairly inert

Valance Electrons
If the valance shell is mostly empty
or almost full the element will be
much more reactive.
For example the noble gases have
full valence shells and are
Alkali metals have only one valance
electron and halogens are missing
only one electron and so are the

We are constantly swapping


Classification of Elements
Elements are classified into 3 general
• Metals
• Metalloids
• Non-metals

Classification of Elements
• Metals are usually shiny or metallic in
appearance, good conductors of electricity
and heat. All metals except mercury are
solid at room temperature. Metals are
malleable and ductile. Most of the elements
are metals.

Classification of Elements
• Nonmetals are usually dull in appearance,
poor conductors of heat and electricity.
Many are gases at room temperature. Solid
non-metals are usually brittle. Non-metals
are essential for the chemicals of life.
• Metalloids have characteristics of metals
and non-metals. All metalloids are solid at
room temperature.

The Periodic Table




Recently Discovered

More Classifications

Group Work
• In your groups go to and or use the ipad and find 3
interesting facts about carbon, hydrogen,
oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.
• Using the model kits construct a model of each
elements atom and draw a diagram of it for your
Note: hydrogen atoms are unusual in that they have no
neutrons in their nucleus.

Video - Atoms