Chemistry 
Lesson
12: Building the periodic table 
Curriculum
Key: 
Appears
in all additional GCSE schemes 
Edexcel
Topic 5 
Objective(s)
1.
Understand how the study of the
properties of the elements led
to the construction of the periodic
table.
2. Appreciate the history of how
scientists discovered elements
by following predictions based
on the periodic table.

Resources
needed
PowerPoint/data
projector
properties cards
orbital cards
blank periodic tables
named element cards 
Starter:
15
minutes
PowerPoint (slides 1 – 7) to introduce
the periodic table and card sort
challenge. Less able groups should
be told that there are 8 groups
(6 x 3 and 2 x 4). If necessary
revise the concepts of density,
melting and boiling points. 
Teacher
input/assessment
Point
out the various properties listed
and suggest how they can help
to group the cards. 
Main
Activity 1: 15
minutes Using
the property cards, sort into
8 groups (the transition metals
are not included – to simplify
the task). More able should be
guided to set out groups in order
of reactivity. 
Teacher
input / assessment
Assist
with prompts where necessary. 
Main
Activity 2: 20
minutes Leave
slide 8 of PowerPoint on screen.
Order orbital cards into 8 groups.
Transition metals cards (labelled
with double letters) are available
for very high ability groups.
With guidance, match properties
cards to electron orbitals. 
Teacher
input / assessment
Explain
how to group cards according to
number of electrons in outer orbital
(columns) and then to arrange
each column by number of orbitals.

Plenary:
10
minutes Slides
9 and 10 show the Periodic Table.
Use information about elements’
names, symbols and number of electrons
to complete the periodic table
blank. Complete for homework.
Students could colour in the different
periodic groups. 
Teacher
input / assessment
Start
groups off. A strong hint would
be to let them know the number
of electrons permitted in each
orbital. 
Learning
Outcomes: All
students must: be
able to explain that the columns
of the periodic table contain
elements with similar properties
Most
students should: as
above, plus understand and explain
that these properties are due
to the arrangement of the electrons
Some
students could: as
above plus predict the properties
and reactivity of elements based
on their electron configuration. 
Key
Skills:
recognising patterns and making
links. Key
words: element,
property, reaction, density, electron
orbital. Homework:
complete
a simple periodic table based
on classwork knowledge. 
Differentiation:
More
able: use
property cards to create both
groups (columns) and order of
reactivity. Later to recognise
this is due to electron configuration.
Less
able: with
teacher input will see a pattern
emerging. 