A fun way to learn the periodic table
For the uninitiated, “The periodiс table of the chemical elements is a tabular method of displaying the chemical elements.” (words lifted from wikipedia :P ). In this post, i will share my experiences on how i learnt up the periodic table when i was in the 11th Grade. :)
A word of caution! Some of the methods illustrated here will be only suited to readers who have bare minimum knowledge about the Tamil Language (and Chennai :P ). If you don’t have a clue on words like paambu, saapadu, sethu po! etc, then i would advice you to continue to some of my other posts. Ok enough dilly-dallying… let me begin now :)
The periodic table consists of 117 elements as of 10th March, 2009. The methods i list out will enable you to remember at least about 60+ elements, whose positions are generally tough to remember. A sample of the periodic table is shown below.
As marked in the above figure, the tips are given to remember the D-block and P-block elements. So, assuming you know the first 12 elements (which you ought to), after reading through this you can remember the order of close to 65+ elements.
The P-Block elements
Now, starting with the P-block, Take one column at a time. So, you are about to learn groups 13 – 17.
Group 13 – Starting with Boron [B] – is to be rememberd as – B Al Ga In Tl = BAGIT (or BAG IT !)
Group 14 – Starting with Carbon [C] – Carbon and Silicon chips in Germany doped with Tin(Sn) and Lead(Pb) – C Si Ge Sn Pb
Group 15 – Starting with Nitrogen [N] – Naga Pambu Aasaiya Saabuduthu Biscuit – N P As Sb Bi
Group 16 – Starting with Oxygen [O] – Ohh YeS! Se Thu Po (as in O S Se Te Po)
Group 17 – Starting with Fluorine [F] – Remember it as if you where rushing through it! Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine, Astatine – all the ‘ine’ endings somehow rhyme for me :P
Group 18 – You got to learn these by heart as they are NOBLE enough to be on the periodic table :P :P
The D-block elements
We shall now deal with the Dreaded D-block elements. Here, i would prefer to attack in a row-wise (period-wise) manner.
Period 4 - Taking up the 1st row of D-block, that is the 4th Period in the table, break it down into two equal halfs: viz. Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn and Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn
For the 1st half – Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn – remember it as – Scandium saw Titanic in Vettri Chrompet Theatre with Manganese
For the 2nd half – Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn – remember it as if your are reading of the Symbols – Feh Co Nee Ku Zinc – FeCo NiCu Zn – Fe,Co and Ni,Cu are two couples whereas Zn is a bachelor :P ( Be careful not to mess up the order of Cobalt – Co – and Copper – Cu – while remembering it )
Period 5 – Assume, this period is a story about two friends Y (Yttrium) and Z (Zed/Zee – Zirconium). Now, Y and Z are two friends and they say “Namba(Nb) Teacher(Tc) R-square(Ru,Rh)” (Our teacher R-square). Then they sing, dance to music from a CD – Padi(Pd) Aaadi(Ag) Cd
in short: Y and Z – two friends – say “Namba Teacher R-square” – and Padi, Aadi to a Cd ……. Sounds good ??
Period 6 – For this one, i would like to approach it from the reverse. That is Hg, Au, Pt, Ir, Os, Re, W, Ta, Hf
Expanding and associating each symbol with easy to remember words like:
Hg – Mercury – Marie – a brand of biscuit which is popular in India
W – Tungsten – Wandhichu or Vandhichu- meaning “to come” or “to get affected with”
Ta – Tantalum – Theriyuma – meaning “do you know? “
So imagine your talking to the element Hafnuim (Yup! Hafnium is a tamilian and knows tamil :P Absolutely no questions to be raised here !!), the complete sentence in tamil is like
“Marie Gold Platinum biscuit saaptu Irridium ku Soree Wandhichu Theriyuma Hafnium ?”
The same with some more explanation in braces for better understanding would be:
“Marie(Hg) Gold(Au) Platinum(Pt) biscuit saaptu Irridium(Ir) ku SoRee(OsRe) Wandhichu(W) Theriyuma(Ta) Hafnium(Hf) ?”
which translates to “Hey hafnium, did you know that Irridium got a bad itch after eating Marie Gold Platinum biscuits ?”
And not to forget the first element of the 6th period (also the first element of the Lanthanides) – Lanthanum !
So there you have it! That was how i learnt the periodic table.
Kudos! to my chemistry professor – Mr. Baskar or ‘Aufbau’ (Wondering why we named him so? for everything he would say “Aufbau principle padichiko! Adhu podhum !” ) as we used to call him affectionately in school, and i must not forget to mention that we do have this Orkut Community dedicated for him, http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Community.aspx?cmm=18670311. This is just one of the most amazing things which he taught me. And i must say it was damn helpful during those gruelling times when i was in 11th & 12 th grade. And guess what? I still remember the periodic table by heart! even after more than three years of passing out of school :)
So did you find this useful? Or, Have you figured out a better way of learning the periodic table? Do share your thoughts on this as comments :)
Hope that helps ;-)