To help sort all the elements known to man, we created the periodic Table. An arrangement of chemical elements based on their atomic numbers and properties. But even so trying to memorize 118 elements that are known to us right now and that too with their atomic numbers in order is no easy task for any regular human being. With that said, let us see how we can optimize the way we learn the periodic table so we can efficiently list out the elements in order.
- Make a hard copy: Initially take a print out of the Periodic table and go through each element once, paying explicit attention to each element’s symbol, atomic number and mass number. Now get your drawing tools out and draw a grid similar to the table with the 118 elements assorted into rows and columns. Start marking down each element with its appropriate symbol, atomic number and mass number with acute attention. Once you have done this you have taken the first step, now you have an idea of what and where all the elements are. It is clear from research and studies conducted that the brain remembers a topic that was written down on paper better than something that was read by the same person.
- Assortment into groups and periods: Have an understanding of the periodic table, about how and why each element is placed in that particular group and period. This will help you in a case where you have some data about one element which will help you to relate it to another element. Also, our brains have a better retention capability towards already predefined strategies or patterns than finding new ones, ergo use predefined categories like the alkali metals and the noble gases which are already grouped elements based on similar properties and valence shell configurations.
- Memorizing techniques: Now comes the grim part, where the actual obligation to remember the elements comes into play. To drub the issue of memorizing, it is best to come up with a personal algorithm which will be appropriate to your personal caliber and essence. For some people it might be using mnemonic sentences, for some it might be making the list of elements into a song or for some even relating each element to an image and making a story out of the sequence.
Here is an example of a mnemonic device:
- Happy Henry Lives Beside Boron Cottage, Near Our Friend Nelly Nancy MgAllen. Silly Patrick Stays Close. Arthur Kisses Carrie.
- H He Li Be B C N O F Ne Na Mg Al Si P S Cl Ar K Ca
First 20 elements of the table as the prefix of each word of the sentence.
Similarly, learning the Latin names of elements will also help you to recall the element when in need.
Thus we have seen how we can efficiently learn and remember about the 118 elements of the periodic table which will help you to perform well in school, college or any competitive exam like JEE Main and more. If you have trouble referring to any topic of the periodic table try out this YouTube channel
Basil C Baby is an Engineer and Blogger with impending knowledge in several sectors of the economy. Currently working with think and learn pvt. ltd. in helping students to come fall in love with learning.