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How to learn and memorise the Periodic Table

The Periodic Table is still as important today as it was when it was first created in 1869.

Whether you’re a student, researcher, teacher or just have a general interest in science, understanding how the table works, even memorising certain elements of it, can be beneficial. Here, we’re providing tips and tricks on how to do just that.

The basic principles

As of 2016, there are 118 elements in the Periodic Table – so that’s a lot to remember!

It is organised in a grid format, with chemical elements placed by atomic structure, so they are in order of increasing atomic number.

Then they are sorted by groups (the vertical columns) and periods (the rows). Elements in the same group have similar properties, and therefore behave in a similar way. The periods are organised by increasing electrons, so the further down the table you go, the more electrons the element has.

Why this is important

Knowing the above is a good start in understanding the table. It’s also how scientists have predicted new elements even before they have been found. With that in mind, the table helps us understand how chemicals will react and behave – which is a big part of materials research and development!

This information means you don’t have to memorise every single element and its properties, as you can simply look up its place to understand more about its composition.

A memory game

Writing notes and continued repetition are two well-known ways to memorise anything! But when it comes to something as complicated as this, why not try a more fun and interactive way?

There are a whole host of free memory aids and apps to help understand more about the Periodic Table, including Goodfellow’s own Mr Materials app.

It’s an interactive, fun and free game aimed at testing the user’s scientific knowledge on the Periodic Table and all 118 elements. The aim of the game is to answer questions as quickly as possible and rank on the leaderboard. The more quickly players answer each question, the higher the score.

There are 20 different levels which have a mixed set of questions relating to various aspects of the Periodic Table, with an additional 20 new levels being added every few months. Each player has three lives at the start of every level; however, if they fail to answer a question correctly or take too long, a life will be lost. Lose all three lives and you’ll have to restart the level, losing all your points.

Mr. Material is available to download for free either through the App Store or Google Play. Why not give it a go?