Printer Friendly

Name that element!

Which element on the periodic table wires electrical appliances, turns octopus blood blue, and lights up the night sky on the 4th of July? Follow these eight clues to find out. Then, turn the page to test your chemistry IQ.

OUR POPULAR MYSTERY SERIES RETURNS!

RARE FIND

CLUE 1

The mystery element is one of a handful of metals that can form a mineral, or a naturally occurring solid with a uniform structure, without combining with other elements. The largest deposits of this rare mineral are found on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. Deposits there range in size from tiny grains to chunks the size of a school bus, says Matt Portfleet, a mining engineer in Michigan.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

MUSIC MAKER

CLUE 2

When the mystery element is combined with the element zinc (Zn), it forms an alloy called brass. This metal mixture is used to make instruments, including the trumpet, tuba, trombone, and saxophone. It has a yellow color similar to gold. (Hint: Zinc and the mystery element are members of the same period, or row, on the periodic table.)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

SPARE CHANGE

CLUE 8

Today's pennies are made mostly of zinc J (Zn), an inexpensive element. But the outside of these one-cent coins is coated with the more valuable mystery element, which contains 29 protons. This outer plating gives today's pennies their reddish-brown sheen.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

WIRED

CLUE 7

Like most metals, the mystery element easily transmits heat and electricity. It has one of the highest conductivities of any element, second only to silver (Ag)--a member of the same group (column) on the periodic table. Since conductors can transfer heat and electrical charge so well, the mystery element is used in electrical wiring.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

BLASTOFF

CLUE 6

Fireworks makers pack explosives with compounds that include the mystery element. Why? When this element is heated to high temperatures, its atoms emit light. For instance, when the mystery element is chemically combined with sulfur (S), this compound burns green; but when mixed with chlorine (CI), the sky lights up in bright blue hues.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

TRUE BLUE

CLUE 3

Most animals use a red iron (Fe) compound called hemoglobin to carry oxygen in their blood. But a few animals, such as octopuses, blue crabs, and snails, use a blue compound called hemocyanin that contains the mystery element. The hemocyanin causes the animal's blood to turn blue when it comes into contact with oxygen in the air, says Paul DiMarco, a marine biologist at the University of Texas.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

LADY LIBERTY

CLUE 4

The Statue of Liberty gets its rich green color from this transition metal. The roughly 15-story-tall statue is covered with a whopping 81,283 kilograms (179,200 pounds) of the mystery element. Over time, chemicals in the atmosphere have altered the element, forming a blue-green layer over it. Called patina, this coating protects the statue from further weathering.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

JAWBREAKER

CLUE 5

In large amounts, this element is toxic to most living things. So scientists were surprised when they found high levels of it in the marine bloodworm. Its jaws use a mystery-element-containing mineral called atacamite. The mineral increases the strength of the bloodworm's prey-catching jaws. The blood worm is the only known organism "that dares to mess with such high levels" of this element, says Herbert University of California at Santa Barbara.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Anatomy of an Element

KEY DEFINITIONS:

ATOMIC NUMBER equals the number of protons (positively charged particles) in an atom s nucleus, or center. Every element contains a different number of protons, and so has a unique atomic number. In a neutral atom, the number of protons and the number of electrons (negatively charged particles) are equal,

ATOMIC MASS equals the number of protons plus the number of neutrons (uncharged particles) found in a single atom of an element. The atom's mass is in its nucleus, which houses both protons and neutrons.

PHYSICAL: Chemistry Name that Element!

POST-READING DISCUSSION

Follow up your lesson with these post-reading questions:

* Which of the following U.S. coins contains the least amount of copper: penny, nickel, dime, or quarter? Answer: A penny. A penny contains only 2.5 percent copper, while a nickel is 75 percent, and dimes and quarters are each 92 percent.

* In the United States, the average-size single-family home is constructed with 200 kilograms (439 pounds) of copper. Where might you find copper in your home? For a list of answers, visit: www.copper.org/education/c-facts/c-home.html

CRITICAL THINKING

* Around 3000 B.C., the ancient Greeks began making tools, weapons, and jewelry out of copper and its alloys. Why? Copper is very bendable and can easily be hammered into different shapes. When copper is mixed with tin, it forms a sturdy alloy called bronze. Suppose you were a metalworker in ancient Greece. List five things that you would make with copper or bronze.

CROSS-CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS

HISTORY: The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States to mark the friendship between the two countries. Have students pretend they are reporters covering the dedication of the statue on October 28, 1886. Students should research the historic occasion and write a newspaper article about the dedication. They should include facts about the statue, how it was made, and the crowd's reaction.

RESOURCES

* For an in-depth guide to copper, visit: www.webelements.com/webelements/elements/text/Cu/key.html

PAGE (18) Name That Element!

DIRECTIONS: On a separate piece of paper, rewrite the following false statements to make them true.

1. A mineral is a naturally occurring solid with an un-uniform structure. Copper needs to combine with other elements to form a mineral.

2. Copper combines with the element tin to form a metalloid called brass. This metal mixture is used to make the trumpet, tuba, and saxophone.

3. Most animals use a red iron compound called hemocyanin to carry nitrogen in their blood.

4. The Statue of Liberty is covered with copper, an alkali metal. Over time, harsh sunlight has altered the element, forming a blue-green coating called fresco over the statue.

5. Like most metals, copper easily transmits heat or electricity. It is second only to silver in connectivity. Silver and copper are members of the same period on the periodic table.

Name that Element!

1. Copper is one of a handful of metals that can form a minerals, or naturally occurring solid with a uniform structure, without combining with other elements.

2. Copper combines with zins to form an alloy called brass. This metal mixture is used to make the trumpet, tuba, and saxophone.

3. Most animals use a red iron compound called hemoglobin to carry oxygen in their blood.

4. The State of Liberty is covered with copper, a transition metal. Over time, chemicals in the atmosphere have altered the element, forming A blue-green coating called patina over the statue.

5. Like most metals, copper easily transmits heat or electricity. It is second only to silver in conductivity. Silver and copper are members of the same groups on the periodic table.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Scholastic, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Science World
Date:Oct 9, 2006
Words:1177
Previous Article:Crisis in a northern sea: can marine animals survive warming waters? Science World Editor Patricia Janes sails with researchers to find out.
Next Article:The periodic table.


Related Articles
Thanks for your feedback!
Correction.
Name that element!
It's your choice.
Name that element!
It's your choice.
Name that element! Which element on the periodic table helps play tricks with birthday candles, colors plants green, and soothes achy stomachs?...
It's elemental!
It's your choice: test your chemistry IQ! Answer the following questions about elements and the periodic table.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters