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Earth Science
Earth Lab: Valence Electrons

Earth Science
Earth Science


Earth Lab: Valence Electrons
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.53

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    unreactive, valance, valence, metallic, periodic, calculate, element, stability, column, whose, atom, minus, determine, gain, within, specific
     content words:    In Groups


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Earth Lab: Valence Electrons
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Valence electrons are the outermost electrons in an atom's electron cloud. These valence electrons determine the chemical properties of an element.
 
2     On the periodic table elements are organized based on their increasing atomic number and into periods (rows) and groups (columns). The members of a group all share similar chemical properties. The atoms of each element within the group usually have the same number of valence electrons. The group number on the periodic table column helps to show the number of valence electrons in each element's atoms. Elements in groups 1 and 2 have one or two valance electrons. In other words, the number of valence electrons in an atom from these groups equals the atom's group number. Calculating the number of valence electrons in the other groups is a bit more complicated, but they all follow a specific pattern.
 
3     Scientists use valence electrons to determine the stability of elements. Elements with eight valence electrons are stable or chemically unreactive. When atoms are unreactive, this means they do not easily gain or lose electrons, and they do not combine with other atoms.

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