Teaching Students About Alkaline Earth Metals


The group of elements known as alkaline earth metals occupy the second column of the periodic table and consist of beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), strontium (Sr), barium (Ba), and radium (Ra). Teaching students about these elements is an essential component of understanding general chemistry principles. This article will explore engaging ways to teach students about alkaline earth metals, their properties, and real-world applications.

Properties of Alkaline Earth Metals

1. Atomic structure: Explain how each alkaline earth metal has two valence electrons in their outermost energy level, making them highly reactive and likely to form ionic compounds. Share details about their electron configuration trends as you move down the group.

2. Physical properties: Discuss the silver color, metallic luster, and low density of these elements. Mention that the size of the atoms and their reactivity increase as you go down the group.

3. Chemical properties: Teach students about how alkaline earth metals react with water, air, and other nonmetals such as halogens. Use flame test demonstrations to show distinct flame colors produced by different alkaline earth metals.

4. Abundance in nature: Educate students about how certain alkaline earth metals, such as calcium in limestone (CaCO3) or magnesium in seawater, are commonly found in abundant quantities on Earth’s crust.

Teaching Strategies

1. Hands-on experiments: Engage students with interactive experiments that involve observing reactivity trends within this group of elements. For instance, invite them to conduct a water displacement experiment comparing magnesium and calcium reacting with water.

2. Visual aids: Utilize visual representations like periodic tables or atomic model diagrams for a clearer understanding of abstract concepts surrounding the alkaline earth metals group.

3. Real-world examples: Share everyday applications and uses for alkaline earth metals to spark students’ interest. For example, highlight magnesium alloy’s usage in lightweight structures, calcium as a vital component for life forms, and barium in medical diagnostic imaging.

4. Group activities: Encourage collaboration through group exercises that involve discussions or brainstorming sessions on properties, reactivity trends, and real-world applications of alkaline earth metals.

5. Relating to other groups: Show the correlation between the properties of alkaline earth metals and other periodic table groups to promote understanding of general trends in chemistry.


Teaching students about alkaline earth metals is a crucial part of any chemistry curriculum. By using engaging teaching methods that emphasize hands-on experiments, visual aids, relevant examples, collaborative activities, and connections to other chemical groups, instructors can make chemistry more accessible and enjoyable for their students.

Choose your Reaction!