The periodic table of elements, which looks very complicated, is of great importance for chemistry students. The present study identified the metaphors for the periodic table formed by the students at different education levels and in different faculties and, in view of these metaphors, discussed the current status of teaching of the periodic table, which is among the basic subjects of the chemistry class. The study was built on phenomenology, a qualitative research method. The data were obtained by using a semi-structured interview and the acquired data were processed by content analysis. Based on the data, some suggestions were made as regards the periodic table. The students’ metaphors were grouped in five categories. Three consist of positive metaphors, while two of negative ones. The positive group included the metaphors concerning ‘order’, ‘whole-making differences’, and ‘containing information’, where the ones pertaining to ‘difficult to learn and understand’ and ‘class differences’ compose the negative group. However, it can be concluded from the fact that the positive and negative metaphors accounted for 89.93% and 10.7%, respectively that a great majority of the students had positive views about the periodic table. Considering the students’ positive views of the periodic table and the metaphors’ composition of a large variety of concepts, different approaches, methods, techniques, and materials can be used in teaching activities. The concretization of the periodic table, an abstract subject, through metaphors can be applicable to teaching settings.
Chemistry education, periodic table, metaphor, students’ views, undergraduate and associate students