Losers, Takers and Kings

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The following is a series of silly metaphors to help you better understand the behavior of the elements of the periodic table.


The column numbers of the periodic table indicate the number of outer (valence) electrons for each element in that column. For instance, all elements in column 1 have 1 outer electron. Different atoms in column 2 each have 2 outer electrons. The pattern continues until column 8, where all elements have 8 outer electrons. The one exception is the noble gas helium, which is complete with 2 electrons.




The elements of the periodic table can be classified into Losers, Takers and Noble Gasses.


Losers of society = elements in columns 13. Elements from these columns want to be like the noble gasses and happily lose their electrons. By losing their valance electrons, they expose complete inner rings and become king-like. Losers are metals and they make ionic bonds.




Higher classes of society = atoms in columns 4 7. These upper classes also want to be like the noble gasses. As you might imagine, the upper classes are better educated and can employ multiple techniques to complete their outer rings. Upper class elements can



1) Steal electrons from the lower classes to complete their rings. This is the basis of ionic bonding.


2) Share their electrons with one another as well as hydrogen to complete their rings. This is covalent bonding.

The Noble Gasses of the periodic table are located in column 8 and they each have complete rings. They are perfect. All of the kings (except Helium) have 8 outer electrons. Since their rings are complete, they do not interact chemically with other elements.


Chemistry suggests that is good to be the king! There is something called the Octet Rule which says that all elements would like to have 8 outer electrons, just like the noble gasses in column 8. Simply put, atoms want to have complete outer rings with 8 electrons. There are two exceptions to the octet rule: Helium, the small king, is complete with 2 outer electrons. Likewise, hydrogen is an exception that is complete with 2 outer electrons.