Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Periodic Table

By Aazan Ahmad, age 15, Seoul, South Korea


Many young students have probably seen a chart of the Periodic Table in their science classrooms, and those curious kids might have wondered what it is. Although they might be too young to learn about the Periodic Table, they don’t let that stop them from being curious about it. In this paper, I will inform you all about what the Periodic Table is, who contributed to it, and what is its purpose.

The Periodic Table is a table of 118 elements. An element is a substance that can’t be broken down into a simpler substance. To explain this clearly, gold is an element, because it is not made of anything else; however, water is a compound, not an element, made of hydrogen and oxygen. They are listed in an order from the lowest to the highest atomic number and atomic mass. The atomic number is the equal number of protons (positive charge) and electrons (negative charge), while the atomic mass is the sum of both protons and electrons and neutrons (neutral charge). As the atomic number increases, the atomic mass also increases. For example, hydrogen has the atomic number of one and atomic mass of 1.008; helium has the atomic number of 2 and atomic mass of 4.003.  There are seven periods (horizontal rows) in the Periodic Table. Some periods have different amounts of elements. The Periodic Table is divided into eighteen groups. The groups are vertical and each one has a different element property. The elements have the abbreviation of one to three letters.

Although Dmitri Mendeleev is known as the “Father of the Periodic Table,” there were other people before him who also made contributions. Dmitri Mendeleev, other than being known as the “Father of the Periodic Table,” is famous for predicting the elements, which were not discovered at that time. As it turns out, his predictions were accurate.  Wolfgang Dobereiner was a German scientist who first realized that the three elements have similar properties and understood the concept behind the atomic mass. Afterwards, John Newlands, an English chemist, arranged the elements in order of their atomic mass. Then, after him, Mendeleev made contributions, and after being succeeded by Lothar Meyer and Henry Moseley, Glenn Seaborg added to the discoveries. Glenn Seaborg, an American physicist, along with other scientists, discovered uranium type elements. Later, he rearranged the Periodic Table by adding actinide and lanthanide elements.

The Periodic Table is a mandatory reference used especially in Chemistry classes. The table shows us elements already discovered and it can even help us predict the properties of the elements, regardless of whether or not they have already been discovered. With the valuable information the Periodic Table has provided us, one can also use it to balance chemical equations. Furthermore, the Periodic Table is used for experiments. For an example, when Henry Cavendish mixed hydrogen and oxygen together in 1781, it’s likely he used the Periodic Table as his guide. However, Lavoisier is credited with coming up with the idea that water is a compound made from hydrogen and oxygen in the 1770s.

In summary, I have informed you about the Periodic Table in three ways: what is it, who contributed to it, and its purpose. Now, that you have learned about the Periodic Table, I encourage you to tell your parents, teachers, and friends about what you learned. I’m sure they will be impressed.