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Learn Chemistry!

Lesson 1 - "The periodic table of elements"

Everyone who possesses the ability to read this, has seen the periodic table of elements before. The periodic table is to us, as nails are to carpenters - without it, the whole thing would fall apart. Below is a printable periodic table:

Periodic Table

I encourage you to print it off, because I want you to mark it up. It seems like a big mess of random letters and numbers, but there is a lot of order behind it.

Section 1 - The layout

You can see there is a very long middle section, with two high points on either side. The middle section is the transitional elements, and you don't need that right now. The high points are the important parts. To the left, there are two columns, which are respectively called group 1 (lithium down) and group 2 (beryllium down). Now, jumping the transitional elements to the right side, we have Group 3 (boron down), Group 4 (carbon down), Group 5 (nitrogen down), Group 6 (oxygen down), Group 7 (fluorine down), and Group 8 (helium down). Each of the elements in these columns belong in a certain group. Below is a picture of a periodic table, which I highlighted the separate groups (and included a color key).

Sectioned Periodic Table

As you can see, hydrogen (H) was made gray. This is because hydrogen does not have a distinct group, or rather, it is it's own group. The noble gasses, group 8, were not marked because they have no specific use to us. The transitional metals were also not marked because they have nothing to do with what I'm showing you. Also, in the unmarked periodic table, you can see a thick black line separating a small section (to the right of it) from the left side of the periodic table. Everything to the right of this line is a non-metal. Everything to the left is a metal.

Section 2 - Diatomics

Diatomics are really easy to understand. In nature, you will never find a diatomic molecule by itself. It will always be paired with itself. The diatomic elements are Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and all of group 7 (The halogens, fluorine down). These will be written as H2, N2, O2, F2, Cl2, Br2, I2, and At2 whenever they are not part of a compound.

Section 3 - Charges

Now it's time to mark your periodic table up. Remember the different groups I was talking about? Well they are arranged that way for a reason. Above group 1 (including hydrogen) write +1. Above group 2, write +2. Above group 3, write +3, and above group 4, write +4. Now switch it up. Above group 5, write -3. Above group 6 write -2, Above group 7, write -1 and above group 8, write 0. These mean absolutely nothing to you right now, but you might as well start assuming what they mean. They are used exclusively for lesson 2.

Section 4 - Transitional elements

The transitional elements, the things we were avoiding before, are the elements located in that center group. There isn't a whole lot different about them, compared to the other elements, except that they can have different charges to them. Unlike Groups 1-8, which have static charges, the transitional elements can change their charges to accommodate. This is why they can become confusing.

I have no need to quiz you, you know what you understand and what you don't. Go back over if you need to.

NOTE: You may notice that a few of the elements have symbols that make no sense. Such as potassium (K) or silver (Ag) and gold (Au). This dates back to the alchemic times when they had separate names for these elements. Here is the list of the elements, first by their symbol, then their real name, and then their alchemic name.

Sb - Antimony - Stibnum

Cu - Copper - Cuprum

Au - Gold - Aurum

Fe - Iron - Ferrum

Pb - Lead - Plumbum

Hg - Mercury - Hydrargyrum

K - Potassium - Kalium

Ag - Silver - Argentum

Sn - Tin - Stannum

Na - Sodium - Natrium

W - Tungsten - Wolfram