Learn a New Language – The Language of Chemistry
Editor’s note: Today, we welcome a guest article from “Mr. Science Teacher” Matthew Poston. For more great science help and education, visit www.mrscienceteacher.com.
Have you ever wanted to learn a new language? Which would it be? French? Spanish? German? Did your high school chemistry class ever seem like a foreign language? “Did you just say Chemistry?! I remember that stuff, YUCK!” Have you ever wondered how teachers can expect students to comprehend the foundations of chemistry when many are stuck trying to just understand the “language?” If you have ever felt chemistry was one of those subjects that gets the best of you, it’s time for justice! Forget the frustration, the countless hours of homework, and the lost efforts on exams. Relax. We’re going to climb mountains! The goal is to attain success and this is your day!
With about ten minutes of effort, you will be able to write and name the correct formula for thousands of chemical compounds. Yes, it’s true! “You don’t even need to know any chemistry to learn how to name compounds?! How?” The key to the language of chemistry is simply adding and subtracting numbers to get to zero. That’s it! Mr. Science Teacher® has made understanding Chemistry simple, but first you much download Mr. Science Teacher’s Periodical Table of Ions and watch a short YouTube video. It’s all free!
You’ll be amazed at how easy naming chemical compounds is about to get! I’m guessing you’ve never imagined chemistry was for you, but I bet you’ll be so impressed with your feelings of accomplishment that you’ll even be excited to show someone else how to do it!
Let’s start with common table salt. Sodium chloride has a chemical formula of NaCl. The sodium ion (Na) has a +1 charge and the chloride ion (Cl) has a -1 charge. Remember, the key to the entire nomenclature is getting to zero, +1 – 1 = 0, NaCl. Here’s another example – The potassium ion (K) also has a +1 charge. To form potassium chloride, we use the same math, +1 – 1 = 0, KCl.
The calcium ion (Ca) has a +2 charge. To form calcium chloride, we need to get to zero by cancelling out one +2 calcium ion with two -1 chloride ions, +2 – 1 – 1 = 0, CaCl2. Aluminum (Al) has a +3 charge. To form aluminum chloride, we need to get to zero by cancelling out one +3 aluminum ion with three -1 chloride ions, +3 – 1 – 1 – 1 = 0, AlCl3.
Bromide (Br) has a -1 charge. Now try these – sodium bromide, potassium bromide, calcium bromide, and aluminum bromide; NaBr, KBr, CaBr2, AlBr3.
What about water? The chemical formula for water is H2O. Hydrogen (H) is a +1 and oxide is a -2. To get to zero, we need two +1 hydrogen ions and one -2 oxide ion, +1 + 1 – 2 = 0, H20.
Mr. Science Teacher
Matthew Poston, Mr. Science Teacher, is licensed by the Illinois State Board of Education to teach physics, chemistry, and mathematics. With over twenty years of teaching experience, he offers a tutoring service for parents and students with hourly rates. Mr. Science Teacher delivers essential components of successful teaching: personality, enthusiasm, and most importantly, effective communication. The goal at Mr. Science Teacher is to teach in a language you will understand. We strive to help students acquire problem solving skills and think analytically.
Copyright 2013 Matthew Poston