You’ve probably seen the big chart on the wall of your science class with all the colors and capital letters.
Even though it looks confusing and full of colors, the periodic table of elements is a great tool to learn because it helps you understand the elements, atomic numbers, groups, and properties of the tiny pieces that make up our world.
If you want to do well in chemistry, you need to learn how to remember the periodic table. As you go through school, these ideas will become common knowledge that will help you understand more complicated ideas.
You can learn the periodic table in a way that works best for you by using flashcards and other ways to remember it.
How to Read the Table of Elements
The purpose of memorizing the periodic table is to learn what properties each element has. You have to know how to read the table to do this.
If you think you need more help with chemistry, you should start by learning about the elements.
- There are 118 elements in the periodic table, which is made up of 18 columns (called groups) and 7 rows (known as periods)
- The periods show that the properties of the elements in that row are similar.
- The groups show that the elements in that column have similar effects on other elements.
- There is an atomic number, a symbol, the name of the element, and an atomic mass for each element.
- The number of electrons in an atom is the atomic number.
- The element is shown by a one- or two-letter symbol.
- On top of that, the table is colored to show 10 groups of elements.
How to Remember the Periodic Table: 4 Ways to Learn It
There are many ways to learn the periodic table, but flashcards, acronyms and acrostics, songs, and mental images are all tried-and-true ways to remember a lot of information.
Memorization is a good way to study, but it takes a lot of time and effort to do it well. The following tricks for remembering things can be used by almost anyone and can help you remember things for a long time, especially the periodic table.
We know that repetition by itself isn’t the best way to learn something, but when combined with flashcards, it can make a huge difference. Making and using flashcards is a way to learn that is considered to be active.
For the periodic table, you can physically write flashcards to test your knowledge of the names and other parts of the table (eg. by colour-coding the cards you can test your knowledge of the category of the element).
Flashcards work best for visual and kinesthetic learners because making the cards and making a visual record of the elements helps these types of learners the most.
With flashcards, there are no short cuts. They are a fun and easy way to practice repetition and memory, but it can take a long time to learn all 118 elements in the periodic table this way.
Abbreviations and acronyms
Acronyms and acrostics are called “first letter mnemonics” because they use the first letter of a word to make phrases that are easy to remember.
To remember the first nine chemical elements, you could say “heeliebeb kernoff,” which is the acronym for “heeliebeb.” It doesn’t make a word, but it makes it easier to remember nine names by putting them all in one mental cue.
You can also remember the first ten elements with the acrostic “Here He Lies Beneath Bed Clothes, Nothing On, Feeling Nervous.”
This method is great for people who learn best by hearing, because listening to and saying the acronym or acrostic over and over again is the best way for an auditory learner to remember the periodic table.
But if every mnemonic has 10 elements, you’ll need 18 mnemonics to remember the whole table. That’s no easy task!
Being able to sing the elements of the periodic table is almost a skill that would look good on a resume.
Songs make the repetition part of memorization more interesting, which makes the process more fun. Even so, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to repeat things a lot!
If you use songs, you might get the wrong words stuck in your head. Your verbal memory will remember what you think you heard, which can make you learn things out of order or in the wrong order.
Even so, if you learn best by hearing, songs are a great way to make repetition fun, learn the periodic table quickly, and even share the song with your friends.
Think of something
If you learn best through pictures, your brain loves them. That’s why it’s easier to remember the periodic table by seeing it than by saying it, so songs and acronyms aren’t as good a way to remember it.
Making mental pictures and linking them together in your mind to make a journey is how mental imagery works. Think about a trip you take every day, and picture some of the places you see along the way. Take your trip to school as an example.
Because the word “hydrogen” sounds like “hydrant,” you’ll remember the element when you think of a hydrant. You’ll remember the word “helium” if you picture a big helium balloon lifting the fire hydrant off the ground.
The problem with this method is that it takes a long time to make the story that connects all the chemical elements. But once this is done, you just travel the journey in your mind and see each image over and over again.