A Simple Valence Problem for a Beginning Chemistry Enthusiast

Chemistry, Education
It is not unusual for school systems to introduce students to chemistry by means of the Periodic Table of the Elements. The table is then broken down into sections: the metals, the non-metals, and the gases. Before long, the structure of the atom is discussed, including protons, neutrons, electrons, orbitals, shells, and valence. It is the last of these we will briefly discuss here – valence. First a very brief discussion, followed by examples, followed by a puzzling problem (to impart insight). Valence: A Simple Discussion Atoms, although containing positive protons and negative electrons, have a net charge of zero. They are electrically neutral. This means each lone atom has a number of electrons equal to its number of protons. For instance, a sodium atom¹ has 11 protons. It also…
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