Lesson 2: Introduction to Metals

Getting Started

Over the next two days, you will learn about the metals. The majority of the elements on the periodic table are classified as metals. These include familiar metals like gold and silver as well as some elements you probably don't think of as metals, like potassium and calcium.

Stuff You Need

  • Fizz, Bubble, and Flash! by Anita Brandolini, Ph.D.
  • aluminum strip (kit)
  • colored pencils or markers
  • copper strip (kit)
  • glue
  • hot water
  • iron strips (kit)
  • magazines
  • magnet (kit)
  • materials as needed for your chosen metal demonstration
  • paper
  • periodic table of elements (provided)
  • protective gloves
  • scissors

Ideas to Think About

  • How do water, air, energy, and magnets change different elements?
  • How do we use changes to classify elements?

Things to Know

  • Luster describes whether and how much a material shines or reflects light.
  • If a material can be shaped or formed, it is described as being malleable. The opposite of malleable is brittle, meaning the material breaks with pressure rather than stretches.
  • There are 6 categories of metals -- the familiar transition metals and main-group metals; the less-familiar alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, and lanthanides; and the man-made and short-lived actinides.


  • Know the differences between elements and compounds. It is important that students learn the differences between elements and compounds based on observation, description of physical properties, and chemical reactions. Elements are represented by chemical symbols, while compounds are represented by chemical formulas. (S)
  • Classify matter based on physical properties including mass. (S)
  • Understand that elements are classified as metals, nonmetals, and metalloids based on their physical properties. The elements are divided into three groups on the periodic table. (S)

Introducing the Lesson

Ask your child what he already knows about metals. Ask him if any of the elements on the periodic table during Lesson 1 sounded familiar and talk about why.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Fizz, Bubble, and Flash! by Anita Brandolini, Ph.D.
Read pages 31, 40, 83, 100-102, and 116 of the book, Fizz, Bubble, and Flash!, by Anita Brandolini, Ph.D. Answer the following questions:
  1. What are some properties of the main-group, transition, and lanthanide metals?
    Shiny, conduct heat and electricity, strong, heavy, solid.
  2. Name some main-group metals and transition metals that you can see from where you are sitting.
    Answers will vary.
  3. Name 3 familiar metals that belong to the transition metals category.
    Answers will vary but may include silver, copper, zinc, gold, iron, nickel, platinum, or mercury.