The Periodic Table is a listing of the elements in order of increasing atomic number and atomic mass. Its organization relates different elements by their chemical compositions and properties.
Major Classification Types of the Period Table
The three major classifications in the periodic table include metals, non-metals and metalloids.
Metals – comprise a majority of the elements on the periodic table.
They are characterized as having luster (shininess), being good thermal and electrical conductors, being malleable and opaque, while having ductility and being solids at room temperature.
Non-Metals – constitute the second largest classification for elements of the periodic table.
They are characterized as having little to no luster (shininess), being poor thermal and electrical conductors, being brittle and transparent, while having no ductility and representing all phases at room temperature.
Metalloids – constitute the smallest classification for elements on the periodic table.
They share some of the characteristics of both metals and non-metals. Because of this hybrid classification they are sometimes called “semi-metals” or “semi-conductors.”
Group Classifications of the Period Table
Beyond the major classifications of the elements we can further divide them into groups or families.
The Main Groups 1 - 8, or Group A Elements are the Alkali Metals, Alkaline Earth Metals or Rare Earth Metals, Pnictogens, Chalcogens, Halogens, Noble Gases or Inert Noble Gases.
The remaining elements or Group B Elements are the Transition Metals and Inner Transition Metals, of which are further divided into Lanthanides and Actinides.
Elements, Symbols, & Beyond
From constant exposure to the elements of the periodic table you will find yourself memorizing 20 elements then 30 elements to 50 elements and beyond.
Once you’ve memorized the periods, groups, and names of elements you will take a look at the orbital structure of elements when discussing isotopes, and the subatomic particles of protons, neutrons and electrons.
Eventually you will begin doing calculations involving the elements’ moles and mass, their periodic trends (electronegativity, van der Waals forces, electron shells), their charges, and electron configurations (valence electrons, ground state, excited state).