My project is a story which portrays the Periodic Table as a Kingdom with the elements as citizens of the kingdom. I believe telling about the Periodic Table in such a fun way will help students of chemistry remember its features more easily.

I visited a kingdom recently, in the course of my travels. A vast kingdom it is, yet so well organized. Though there is no king in this kingdom, her citizens are so patriotic and responsible; always queued up and performing their civic duties as they should.

When I asked for the name of the kingdom, I was told a very queer name-Periodic Table. Even more intriguing is the name by which the citizens of the kingdom are called-Elements! Where I come from, ‘Element’ describes strong wind or other forms of bad weather. Interestingly, the elements have shells. Now, don’t think they’re like snails; far from it! Well, what is in a name? I learnt from childhood not to judge a book by its cover. So, I took a tour of the kingdom.

There are four main clans in the kingdom called Blocks. They are simply known as s-block, p-block, d-block and f-block. I was told more clans will be created as elements are born and there is a need for expansion.

The s and p clans appear to be more important. They are nicknamed Representative Elements, probably because they contain more reactive elements than d and f clans. As a matter of fact, the s and p clans reside on the left and right boundaries of the kingdom, appearing to ‘protect’ the kingdom from external attacks, which is not likely anyway. The d and f clans reside comfortably in the middle of the kingdom.

There are Families in the kingdom; like families where I come from. Eighteen families make up the Periodic Table kingdom. Quite a small kingdom, I’d say. Members of each family have similar characteristics due to unique genes found in their shells called valence electrons. They determine to a large extent, the behavior of most elements.

The first family, the Alkali metals, is known by all in the kingdom and beyond to be very violent, especially when they have contact with species called water and acids. Why would anyone be so rough to relate with? The next family, the Alkaline Earth metals, appear to have taken a mild cue from them but are not as harsh as the Alkali metals. There will usually be a reasonable level of provocation with heat, before they show their ‘harshness’ with water. Is harshness an s clan trait? Where I come from, people will avoid having any relationship with individuals from that family.

Happily, two families from the end of the p clan known as the Halogens and the Chalcogens, are well known to form peaceful marriage relationships with the Alkali metals and Alkaline Earth metals. The relationships are mostly based on one partner sacrificing one or two electrons and the other sacrificially accepting the extra burden of having the electron(s) on its shell. The children from such a marriage ironically turn out to be mostly gentle and useful. Families in the p clan inter-marry, I discovered. It would seem like incest but it is not exactly. Such elements simply contribute electrons and then form a bond by sharing the mutually contributed electrons.

Elements in one family in the kingdom do not form bonds of relationship with other elements. They are so full of themselves and bear a proud name too-the Noble or Rare Gases. What is noble about being unfriendly, stingy and lonely? Well, I was told that recently, few members of the family are learning to mingle but, they are usually forced or coerced to do so.

Time and space will not permit me to share all I saw and heard in the kingdom called the Periodic Table of Elements but the truth is that I learnt a lot from them, which is helping me, lead a better life. For instance, I have learnt to be more organized and patriotic. I have also stopped being harsh, unfriendly or stingy since that visit. I now know that there must be something good in everyone I meet and that for my relationships to be successful, I must be willing to make sacrifices. I strongly recommend that you pay a visit to this kingdom too, as soon as you can.

About Nguhenen Hwange

My name is Nguhenen Blessing Hwange. I am 21 years old and a fresh science student at the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Nigeria. The Periodic Table challenge is an eye opener.