PTable Header

Photo credit Gashwin via flicr

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up."

-AA Milne

How is the Modern Periodic Table Organized?

The common modern periodic table is organized by atomic number (thanks, Mosley!).

From there we classify metals vs. non-metals (and metalloids) and group elements into Families like Alkali Metals, Halogens, and Noble Gases.

Groups vs. Periods

Metals vs. Non-Metals

The first big grouping within the modern Periodic Table is whether an element is a metal, non-metal, or metalloid (semi-metal).

PTable Courtesy of the University of Georgia



Physical Properties:

  • Good conductors of electricity and heat
  • Solid at room temperature (Except Hg)
  • Malleable and ductile (easily formed into shapes)
  • Lusterous (shiny, shiny, shiny)

Physical Properties:

  • Poor conductors of electricity and heat
  • Solid, Liquid or Gasat room temperature
  • Solids are brittle when smacked (generally)
  • Kind of dull, though can be colorful!

Chemical Properties:

  • Tend to have 1, 2, or 3 valence electrons (said it before, will say it again - for Main Group elements the number of valence electrons matches the Group A number!)
  • Quick (and happy) to give up valence electrons to form CATIONS

Chemical Properties:

  • Tend to have 4-8 valence electrons (check it out, Group A number = number of valence electrons for Main Group elements. Good thing to remember.)
  • Highly motivated to gain valence electrons to form ANIONS or share them to bond covalently




Periodic Table Families

Elements in the same Group or Family tend to have the same general characteristics. These are the Groups you need to know:

Here are some other links to help you get aquainted with all the Groups/Families:

How much do you need to know about the Periodic Table is Organized?