|Focus||Periodic Table of the Elements|
|Topics||Atomic Number, Groups, Periods|
The Periodic Table of the Elements categorizes elements primarily by the number of protons in their nucleus (atomic number) and secondarily by the characteristics they exhibit.
The columns of the Periodic Table are called groups and all elements in a group have the same number of electrons in their outer electron shell. The group that an element occupies generally determines its chemical properties as the number of outer shell electrons establishes the way it reacts with other elements to form molecules. So, because each element has the same number of electrons in its outer shell, each has similar reactivity.
The rows of the Periodic Table are called periods and contain elements that have the same number of electron shells ordered from lower to higher atomic number.