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As you probably saw, the periodic table is organized like a big grid. The ELEMENTS are placed in specific places because of the way they look and act. If you have ever looked at a grid, you know that there are rows (left to right) and columns (up and down). The periodic table has rows and columns too and they each mean something different.
[Image:Periodic Table with Highlighted Rows](D)PERIODS (Get it? Like PERIODic table!).

In the periodic table, elements have something in common if they are in the same row. All of the elements in a PERIOD have the same number of SHELLS. We talk about shells when you go look at the elements in detail.

Every element in the top row (the first period) has one shell for its electrons. All of the elements in the second row (the second period) have two shells for their electrons. It goes down the periodic table like that.

[Image:Periodic Table with Highlighted Columns](D) Now you know about periods. The periodic table has a special name for its columns too. When a column goes from top to bottom, its called a GROUP. The elements in a group have the same number of electrons in their outer shell.

So, every element in the first column (group one) has one electron is its outer shell. Every element on the second column (group two) has two electrons in the outer shell. Just keep counting the colored columns and you'll know how many electrons are in the outer shell.

If you're bright you'll notice that HYDROGEN is special. Hydrogen can have the talents and electrons of two groups, one and seven. To scientists, Hydrogen is sometimes missing an electron, and sometimes it has an extra. Helium is different. It can only have two electrons in its outer shell, but it still get grouped with elements that have eight.

The elements in between, with the grey color, are called TRANSITION elements. They are not in our main groups.
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