The Periodic Table of Elements is central to the study of modern Physics and Chemistry. It is however, considered by teachers as difficult to teach. This paper reports on a case study exploring reflections on teaching periodic table concepts in five secondary schools from South Africa.
Material and methods:
Qualitative methodology of interviews and document analysis were used to collect data from five participants that were purposively selected. One specific research question was addressed: what practices inform Physical Sciences teachers when teaching periodic table of elements?
Results showed that all participants were able to describe specific teaching and learning difficulties, such as relating the properties of substances to characteristics of the constituent particles. They further, recognised the importance of using models of atoms and molecules to promote understanding.
These findings have implications for science teaching, learning and teacher education.