Trends on the Periodic Table: Metals, Non-Metals, and Metalloids
In this lab activity, students will be asked to observe and then test the properties of several different elements. In their observations they will be looking for the physical state, whether it is shiny or dull, and whether it appears malleable or brittle. For some of the elements they will also test the conductivity, malleability, and reactivity with dilute acid. From their data, they classify each element as a metal, a non-metal or a metalloid.
There results will be color coded on a periodic table (e.g. Blue for metals, yellow for non-metals, and green for metalloids). They will use this to determine trends for metallic properties of the elements.
2. To discover the arrangement of metals, non-metals and metalloids on the periodic table.
3. To observe trends for the metallic properties of elements.
Observation, classification and analysis skills will be developed.
1. Metals tend to be shiny, hard, malleable and good conductors of electricity. They are located on the left side of the periodic table.
2. Non-metals can be solids, liquids, or gases. If they are solid, they tend to be brittle. They are poor conductors. They are located on the right side of the periodic table.
3. Metalloids combine some of the properties of metals and not-metals and are located between them on the periodic table.
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: High School (9-12)
Description and Teaching Materials
This is a copy of the student handout of the lab. It includes the materials in it. A copy is also attached in the documents.
Periodic Table Lab:
To investigate the properties of several elements on the periodic table and classify them as metals, non-metals or metalloids.
In you lab notebook, draw the following table. Write each of the following properties under the appropriate heading. Write the whole property, not just the letter of the property.
METALS NON-METALS METALLOIDS
a. good conductor of heat
b. poor conductor of heat (insulator)
c. semi conductor
d. shiny, high luster
e. solids tend to be dull
i. good conductor of electricity
j. poor conductor of electricity
For the observation stations you should prepare sealed test tubes containing the following elements:
copper, silicon, magnesium, carbon, nickel, aluminum, zinc, sulfur, oxygen, lead, bismuth, silver, nitrogen, antimony, and hydrogen
For the conductivity station, you should have plastic dishes with one piece of each element to be tested and micro-conductivity testers.
For the malleability station, have one piece of each element per group along with paper towels and hammers.
For the reactivity station, have one piece of each element per group, 9 test tubes, test tube rack and 1 M HCl.
1. In your lab notebook, draw a table like the one shown below.
2. Observe the appearance of each of the elements. Record physical state, color, luster and other observable characteristics.
3. Using the micro-conductivity tester, determine whether the elements conduct electricity. If you observe carefully, you might see that some are semi-conductors.
4. To determine which elements are malleable, place a single piece of the element on a paper towel, and gently tap it with a hammer. An element is brittle if it shatters when it is hit. An element is malleable if it flattens when it is tapped.
5. To test the reactivity with 1 M HCl, label 9 test tubes with the symbols for each element. Add 5 ml of the acid to each tube. Then add a small sample (approx 0.1 gram) of each element to the labeled tubes. Formation of bubbles of hydrogen is evidence that a reaction is occurring. (Note: not all reactions are vigorous, so watch closely)
Element Appearance Conductivity Malleability Reactivity with HCL Non-metal Metal or Metalloid
For the following elements, try to decide if they are a metal, non-metal or metalloid based on their appearance.
Element Appearance Non-metal Metal or Metalloid
On the blank periodic table, label the elements that we tested in lab. From your observations label them as metal, non-metal or metalloid. Color each group (metals, non-metals and metalloids) a different color.
Analyze and conclude:
Answer the following questions in your lab notebook. Use summary sentences.
1. Which elements displayed characteristics of metals?
2. Where are the metals located on the periodic table?
3. Which elements displayed characteristics of non-metals?
4. Where are the non-metals located on the periodic table?
5. Which elements displayed some characteristics of metals and some of non-metals?
6. Do metallic characteristics of elements seem to increase from left to right or right to left?
7. Do metallic characteristics seem to increase from top to bottom or bottom to top? Periodic Table lab- Student handout (Microsoft Word 48kB Aug24 07)
Teaching Notes and Tips
I am also going to try to have the students discover where metals, non-metals and metalloids are located on the periodic table.