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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

An introduction to the periodic table


The periodic table also known as the periodic table of elements, is a picture that tells the story of every atom in the universe.

The periodic table is an icon of chemistry, but it is a part of every branch of science. If you understand the periodic table, you understand the stuff that all matter is made of - the building blocks of matter.

This tutorial will take you through the history of the periodic table and how to read and understand the table. You can also test your knowledge of the periodic table by skipping to the quiz.

In this tutorial

  • History of the periodic table - People have been using the periodic table to categorise elements and predict new atoms and how they interact with the known elements for over one hundred and fifty years - time to complete 15 minutes
  • The arrangement of the periodic table - where an atom appears on the periodic table is a visual representation of the periodic law. Read on to learn more - time to complete 35 minutes
  • Periodic table quiz - test your knowledge of the periodic table here. 25 questions. Time to complete - 75 minutes.

The periodic table of elements