Elements in Everyday Life and Practice


Elements are all around us in the everyday world. In this section you will explore how the periodic table relates to our everyday life and how we use this information to relate the elements around us to our lives.

Elements are the fundamental building blocks of matter. Matter is what makes up everything in the universe from cars to planes to people. Matter is constructed from elements, sometimes purely from one type of element or sometimes many. Matter originated in the big bang when the universe came into being it was very hot and fundamental particles of protons, electrons and neutrons were created. As the universe cooled down these particles were able to combine and form elements, creating the matter we know of today.

The matter which formed first are the elements in the periodic table which are the lightest, they are also the most common elements that we find in the universe. A good example of this is hydrogen and helium, the two lightest and smallest elements in the periodic table. As they only have a few protons and neutrons that make them up they are the most common as they were the easiest to make in the universe after the big bang.

All atoms make up matter and matter comes in three main states, solid, liquids and gases. These states are found throughout the universe and the atoms in them have different ways they act giving them different properties.

For example the human body is made of a collection of atoms that make up the matter of the human body. They are in different states, the blood is a liquid, the bone is a solid and the air we breathe in and out is a gas. The bones are made of calcium, the blood contains iron and the body is made up of a lot of carbon, hydrogen atoms showing how all of matter that makes up the body is made of different elements and atoms.

Terms in section

Elements are atoms with the same number of protons in the nucleus


States are the form an element or substance exists in usually a solid liquid or gas


Particles in a solid are closely packed together and have a regular arrangement


Particles in a liquid are close together but can freely move around


Particles in a gas are far apart and can move around a lot freely


Matter is a term used to describe when all atoms are combined to make up large structures.


Understanding Element Names and Symbols


Groups and Periods in the Periodic Table