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Fun Mnemonics in Chemistry

The list of tricks and verses our parents fabricated for us to help us memorise since we were toddlers is endless. The most innovative of them was remembering whether a month of the year had 30 or 31 days on our knuckles. Aren’t these mnemonics the craziest inventions of all?

The Knuckle Mnemonic!

A mnemonic device, or memory device is any learning technique that aids information retention in the human memory. Mnemonics allows for efficient storage and retrieval. Mnemonics aid original information in becoming associated with something more meaningful—which, in turn, allows the brain to have better retention of the information. Commonly encountered mnemonics are often used for lists and in auditory form, such as short poems, acronyms, or memorable phrases.

When it comes to Chemistry, we have truckloads of things to memorize. It is only natural that we should resort to fun mnemonics in chemistry, in turn making our learning process so much more fun! Let’s find out some of such interesting mnemonics. Read on!

The Orbitals

The s p d f g h i k order is tough for young entrants to Chemistry. Here we go:

  • Sober Physicists Don’t Find Giraffes Hiding In Kitchens.

Note: After the k shell, they follow alphabetical order (skipping s and p as they came earlier).

Another roadblock is the Aufbau principle. Remembering the order of orbitals (1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10) could have been a herculean task without the following mnemonic! The order of sequence of atomic orbitals can be remembered as:

Just follow the red arrows and you are good to go!

The first 20 elements!

  • Happy Henry Lives Beside Boron Cottage, Near Our Friend Nelly Nancy MgAllen. Silly Patrick Stays Close. Arthur Kisses Carrie.

This falls fit for the first 20 elements H – Hydrogen, He – Helium, Li – Lithium, Be – Beryllium, B – Boron, C – Carbon, N – Nitrogen, O – Oxygen, F – Fluorine, Ne – Neon, Na – Sodium, Mg – Magnesium, Al – Aluminum, Si – Silicon, P – Phosphorus, S – Sulfur, Cl – Chlorine, Ar – Argon, K – Potassium, Ca – Calcium.

Properties of Elements

Activity series of metals

Potassium>Sodium>Calcium>Magnesium>Aluminium>(Carbon)*>Zinc>Iron>Lead>Hydrogen>Copper>Silver>Gold
  • Please Stop Calling Me A Cute Zebra I Like Her Call Smart Goat

Note that Carbon is a non-metal, used as a baseline.

K > Na > Mg > Al > Zn > Cr > Fe > Pd > H > Cu > Au
  • Kangaroos Naturally Muck About in Zoos For Purple Hippos Chasing Aardvarks.

Electronegativity

Fluorine > Oxygen > Nitrogen >Clorine > Bromine > Iodine > Sulphur > Carbon > Hydrogen ≥ Phosphorus
  • (F)irst (O)ff, (Cl)ean (N)ow; (Br)ing (I)n (S)ome (C)aps, (H)alters, and (P)ants.
  • Flaming Oxygen Nice Clear Bright I Suspect Canned Hydrogen

Redox reactions

A redox reaction is a chemical reaction in which there is a change in oxidation state of atoms participating in the reaction. Here you will encounter the maximum requirement for mnemonics for there are quite a few confusing elements.

Ions

An atom (or ion) whose oxidation number increases in a redox reaction is said to be oxidized (and is called a reducing agent) by loss of one or more electrons. The atom whose oxidation number decreases gains (receives) one or more electrons and is said to be reduced. This relation can be remembered by the following mnemonics.

  • Leo says Ger! or Leo the lion, Ger! can be used to represent Loss of electron is oxidation; Gain of electron is reduction.
  • Oil Rig: Oxidation is loss; Reduction is gain (of electrons).

Cations and anions

Cations are positively (+) charged ions while anions are negatively (−) charged. This can be remembered with the help of the following mnemonics.

  • Cats have pawsCations are pawsitive.
  • An anion is a negative ion. (AnegativeionAnion).

Oxidation vs. reduction: Electrochemical cell

  • AN OIL RIG CAT: At the ANode, Oxidation Involves Loss of electrons. Reduction Involves Gaining electrons at the CAThode.

We hope you liked these fun mnemonics in chemistry

These will help you get an idea of how to proceed with it. If you feel comfortable, you can even do these in your own language! Make learning more interesting in the subject will multiply enormously. You can also build your own fun mnemonics in Chemistry for concepts which are tough to memorise & share in the comments’ section. All the best!

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