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Hunting the Elements: Hunting the Elements

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The Assignment

Hunting the Elements

1.    First Watch the video http://video.pbs.org/video/2217713569/ and answer the questions below:

2.    Explore.

3.    Play – if time permits.


What Makes an Element Reactive?

1. Why are noble gases sometimes called inert gases?
2. Think of and describe an analogy to help you remember whether noble gases are reactive.
3. What does the host mean when he says “reactivity is a shell game”?
4. In terms of electrons, what do elements located in the same column of the periodic table have in common?

Atomic Structure of an Alloy

5. What is an alloy?
6. Describe the atomic structure of bronze.
7. Why does the bell maker in the video choose to use bronze?
8. Do you think the ratio of tin to copper is important when making bronze? Why or why not?
9. Can you think of an example of another metal alloy?

Rare Earth Metals

10. Do you think “rare earths” is a fitting name for this set of elements? In what way are rare earths “rare?”
11. What percentage of rare earth minerals comes from China?
12. How do you think limiting the export of rare earth minerals from China would affect the rest of the world?
13.  Describe why rare earth elements have similar chemical properties.

A Fission Chain Reaction

14. What is nuclear fission?
15. In the demonstration seen in the video, what do the mousetraps and ping-pong balls represent?
16. Describe how a fission chain reaction can be self-sustaining.

Radioactive Decay of Carbon-14

17. What is the most common form of carbon? How is carbon-14 different?
18. What does it mean to say that an isotope is unstable?
19. Describe the radioactive decay of carbon-14.
20. How does the scientist in the video use carbon to help study changes in climate? 

The Value of Copper

21.  What are some common uses of copper?
22.  What properties of copper make it so useful?
23.  Why is copper sometimes referred to as "Dr. Copper?"
24.  What does Harriet Hunnable mean when she says that "Copper is king."

How Elements Form Compounds

25.  Describe the electron configuration of sodium.
26. Why is sodium highly reactive?
27.  How can two unstable elements, such as sodium and chlorine, combine to make a stable compound?

Developing the Periodic Table

28.  What is the periodic table of elements?
29. What are examples of properties of elements?
30. Why do you think this display of the elements is called the “periodic table?”
31.  How was Mendeleev able to predict the existence of unknown elements?
32.  How has the periodic table changed since Mendeleev's time?

Subject Guide

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Jennifer Jourdain
Contact:
Montachusett Regional Voc Tech School
1050 Westminster Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
jourdain-jennifer@montytech.net
(978) 345-9200 x5125
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