What is everything made of?

IMG_0195Everything on Earth is made up of ‘chemical elements’. So far, scientists have discovered 118 different chemical elements. They are listed in a special chart known as the ‘periodic table’.

The chemical elements are all different and scientists describe them as having different ‘properties’. Some of them normally exist on Earth as gases, some as liquids and some as solids. Some are metals, others are non-metals.

Each chemical element has its own name and a symbol (a short way of writing its name) that is one or two letters long. You probably already know the names of some chemical elements. For example: gold (Au) and silver (Ag) are valuable precious metals; chlorine (Cl) is a disinfectant that is used to keep swimming pools clean.

Sometimes, the name and symbol come from an old Greek or Latin word that describes something about that chemical element. The name for the element Carbon (C) comes from the Latin word for charcoal.

Sometimes, the name and symbol for a chemical element come from the name of a person. Like Einsteinium (Es), which is named after the famous scientist Albert Einstein.

If you click on a chemical element in this interactive periodic table, you can find out all about its properties and what it is used for.

You might also enjoy listening to the Element Song by Tom Lehrer, or this song Meet the Elements by They Might Be Giants.

But if you want to know what chemical elements are made of, well that’s another story…

One thought on “What is everything made of?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s