Student reading periodic table

Adapting the APH Periodic Table to Indicate Major Element Groups

This is a description of how to adapt the APH Periodic Table in order to indicate tactually the major element groups.

The APH Periodic Table and references booklet are excellent tools for chemistry students who are visually impaired to utilize in order to gain the information that sighted peers are learning from the print periodic table.  Due to the space required for Braille, much of the information on the print periodic table is included in the reference booklet rather than on the Periodic Table itself. 

The APH Periodic table includes only the element symbol and the atomic number (number of protons) in each square whereas most periodic tables include atomic mass,  as well as color coding that differentiates element groups (metals, non-metals, and metalloids). 

The APH Periodic Table Reference booklet is therefore necessary for the student in middle school and high school chemistry to obtain all necessary information about the elements.  As do most Periodic Tables, the APH Periodic Table differentiates metals, metalloids, and non-metals into sections utilizing color coding.  This is accessible to some students with low vision, but not to students who are blind.   The following is a simple manner in which the APH Periodic Table can be adapted in order to allow students who are blind to access these categories without utilizing the reference booklet.

Using a hot glue gun, make a line around the metals, metalloids, and non-metals on the APH Periodic Table

Making a hot glue gun line to differentiate the element groups

This is a close up of the APH Periodic Table showing hot glue gun lines.

Close up of the APH periodic table with hot glue gun lines differentiating the element groups


During the description in class of the periodic table, introduce the student to the APH Braille Periodic Table.  Direct the student’s attention to the key for each element which includes the element symbol and atomic number.

For students with low vision: After instruction on the element groups, point out to student that the periodic table categorizes the major element groups (metals, metalloids, and non-metals) using color. 

For students who are blind (or students with low vision for whom it is necessary):  Describe the location of the 3 major element groups and the separation indicated by the hot glue gun lines.   Take questions and guide students as necessary.

By Laura Hospitál

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