Although these concepts are important, you can incorporate them into engaging activities instead. Instead of merely drawing an electron dot diagram, let students use buttons to represent them. Provide students with a blank diagram, containing only the nucleus and some empty shells, and let them get to work. At first, they can merely place the correct number of buttons in each shell to represent a specific element.
After they have had some practice, then they can use different colored buttons to represent those in the s orbital, the p orbital, the d orbital, and the f orbital. This easy way to teach about valence electrons is as hands-on as it gets! Place a box in the center of the room, and put two chairs on either side of the box.
The box will represent the nucleus, and the chairs will represent the innermost shell of electrons. Place a piece of paper or an index card on each chair, one reading "1s1," and one reading "1s2. When they finish, have students pretend to be electrons and "fill in" the number of chairs needed to make an element with a small number of electrons, such as oxygen.
Give them a bag full of tennis balls or other small objects to represent protons, and tell students to place the correct number of protons for that element into the nucleus.
Then have them repeat the process with an element that contains more electrons, such as iron. So much can be done with the periodic table - if only you could get your students to pay attention to it. As you can see, the number of valence electrons an atom has is related to the column it is found in on the periodic table. When an atom has eight valence electrons it is said to have an octet of electrons.
Atoms with a complete octet have s and p orbitals that are completely filled with electrons, so they are extremely stable. Notice that the Lewis dot diagrams fill the outer shells by first putting in four electrons alone on either side and then starting to pair them up with the addition of the fifth electron.
This representation will help us later on when we discuss chemical bonding. Aside from the number of valence electrons an atom has, the energy they have or the energy level that they are in is the last bit of information that helps predict how an atom will react. They all have one valence electron, but their valence electrons are located farther and farther away from the nucleus as you move down on the periodic table. For example, that one valence electron in lithium is in the 2 s orbital.
That number 2 is the principal quantum number that represents the size of the orbital. The 2 s orbital is going to be a lot smaller than the 4 s orbital in potassium that holds its valence electron. What that means is the valence electron in potassium is going to have more energy and be farther away from the nucleus than the valence electron in lithium. What difference does that make? Well, as you may have noticed from the sodium example, those elements in the first column are going to get rid of their outer electrons as quickly as possible.
Having that one outer electron flying around alone out there makes that atom very chemically unstable. The ability of it to chemically react is directly dependent upon how easily it can get rid of that outer electron. Potassium is way more likely to get rid of its outer electron than lithium is because its outer electron is in the 4 s orbital, which is much farther away from the inner pull of the positively charged nucleus. Lithium will hang on to its 2 s electron more tightly than potassium will hang on to its 4 s electron because the 2 s electron is closer to the inward pull of the positively charged nucleus.
This makes potassium much more reactive than lithium. If you put a tiny chunk of lithium in water it may just fizz, but if you put the same amount of potassium in water it will probably pop or explode.
As you may have noticed, the row an element is in will represent the energy level the valence electrons will have. Elements in the first row hydrogen and helium will have outer electrons in the first energy level.
Their principal quantum number is 1. Elements in the second row lithium through neon will have valence electrons in the second energy level with a principal quantum number of 2. The trend continues all the way down to the seventh row. Remember, those last two rows really belong squeezed into the sixth and seventh rows.
The most important feature of an atom that helps predict its chemical properties is the location and quantity of its electrons - more specifically, its valence electrons or outer electrons. The outer electrons are the ones that participate in the chemical reactions, changing the properties of an atom or molecule. The column an element is in on the periodic table will indicate how many valence electrons it has, and for now, when we count across columns, we will skip over the d -block.
The row an element is in will indicate the energy level of the outer electrons. Finally, because valence electrons are so important, they can be represented symbolically in Lewis dot diagrams.
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Kristin Born Kristin has an M. The periodic table contains a wealth of information. Valence Electrons and Energy Levels Valence electrons can greatly impact the properties of atoms of the same element The electron is one of the most important factors in determining how an atom will react with another atom or molecule. Valence Electrons This was just a brief introduction into how the electronic structure will affect the function and reactivity and even taste of an atom. Try it risk-free No obligation, cancel anytime.
Want to learn more? Select a subject to preview related courses: Energy of Valence Electrons Aside from the number of valence electrons an atom has, the energy they have or the energy level that they are in is the last bit of information that helps predict how an atom will react. The farther away the valence electrons are from the nucleus, the more energy an atom has As you may have noticed, the row an element is in will represent the energy level the valence electrons will have.
Lesson Summary The most important feature of an atom that helps predict its chemical properties is the location and quantity of its electrons - more specifically, its valence electrons or outer electrons. Lesson Objectives After watching this lesson, you should be able to: Define valence electrons and identify how many an element has Understand the importance of how many valence electrons an element has Explain how to represent the number of valence electrons in a Lewis dot diagram Describe the significance of the orbital location of valence electrons in an element.
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