Brown's TEACH YOURSELF CHEMISTRY
INTRODUCTION to teaching yourself basic chemistry
What is chemistry? The above animation tends to
illustrate the populist view, but such a view of fizzing, pretty colours and
flashes and bangs is frankly, only a small part of the subject we call chemistry
- but, initially in the classroom, it is good fun and a good practical
introduction! Unfortunately for many
pupils/students its their only view of chemistry and if it doesn't live up to
this 'view', it must be boring! BUT its rather a lot more things and relevant
and interesting knowledge if you take
the trouble to look!
e.g. How to transform one substance into another e.g.
an acid + alkali (reactants) ==> salt + water (products). The practical
techniques to carry out reactions and isolate the desired product - this
involves apparatus design, separation and purification techniques. A fundament
description of what a substance is, its structure and properties at the
atomic/molecular level and developing theoretical models to explain and predict
the properties of substances. How to investigate materials in terms of e.g.
their constituent atoms and arrangement - molecular structure. Chemical analysis
e.g. how to determine the % purity of a compound, the % constituents of a
mixture. The development of innovative compounds e.g. 'smart' plastics,
effective drugs, safe medicines. Environment chemistry - what are the chemical
reactions that give rise to pollutants? What chemical changes occur to cause
environmental harm? The list of present and future applications of chemistry has
no limit, and environmental, health and ethical issues are becoming more and
more discussed in the public domain - and rightly so.
220+ examples of the uses of elements, compounds & mixtures are briefly described
Ten points to bear
in mind while following my scheme!
How to teach
yourself chemistry? hmm!!!
A 'good' friend suggested I put
together a scheme that taught chemistry from its basics by using various
sections of my site. The
scheme is suitable for students/adults preferably aged at least 14 and I'm
not trying to pretend its suitable from the first year of secondary/high
To devise a self-study course
in chemistry, with built in self-assessment, is a daunting task,
and, even without starting from scratch (couldn't bear that!), most of my notes have been written on the basis of the 'users' i.e.
science-chemistry students, knowing some chemistry, and, studying on a chemistry science
course with structured guidelines from teachers and lecturers.
However, that does not mean
(I hope?), that I've taken things for granted in the way I've presented my
notes and the scheme of 'lesson plans', but students on a science-chemistry are automatically given
directions as to what they are to study!
Therefore they can use this
website as an extra textbook and look up information on, and test themselves
on, subject matter dictated by the teacher-lecturer delivering a particular
science course, so, I've done by best
to select web pages, or even just sections of a webpage, and put them
'together' in what I think is a suitable order to study them.
I do not have time to give
detailed replies to questions, but general queries and comments about this
scheme, the revision webpages and quizzes are most welcome, whether the
comments be positive (proton!), neutral (neutron!) or negative (electron!).
Clicking on any link will
open a study notes page or a quiz in a new window, so this page is
automatically retained on screen to hopefully return to and progress
further! You may be required to study the whole or part of the web page
I've put in place the first
few sections and will continue to add to the scheme over the coming months. As well as providing links to
study notes pages, wherever possible I've put links to quizzes that will
self-test the self-study student.
I have not described any
practical experiments you can do in the home, though I may add some later?
This is a 'bookish' website and since experiments are not part of the
scheme at the moment, I have adopted a more academic approach from the
In the early years at
secondary schools pupils might well do some experiments e.g. with acids,
alkalis and indicators, salt preparations, methods of separating mixtures
etc. before many important and fundamental concepts are considered, BUT I
will introduce such ideas earlier but trying to ensure that required underlying
knowledge is dealt with first.
The following icons-buttons are used
to indicate the contents of a webpage link.
chemistry revision-study notes.
Multiple choice quiz
indicates an exercise in which you have to type in a short answer - usually 1-2 words
or a number or chemical symbol.
indicates a word-fill worksheet. You can do online by choosing the word
from a drop-down menu OR you can printout, do, and return to input the
answers from the drop-down menu. In some cases I might have put a copy of the exercise with the
indicates a /matching pair exercise i.e. match the left hand
word/statement with a right-hand word/statement from a drop-down menu.
(the start of)
My initial version lays out a
series of 'lessons' which I will regularly revise to make more coherent and by
all means email me with suggestions for improvements. There is no set time for
each lesson, that's up to you, and the quizzes and tests will give you some
self-indication as to how you are getting on! They may or may not improve your
confidence! In the multiple choice quizzes PLEASE read any feedback - part of
the learning process AND if you think there is any sort of 'error' or poor
design in a question PLEASE email me BUT quote the test AND the Q database
reference number in square brackets [xxx].
Lesson 1. Some fundament basic ideas, concepts and
Lesson 2. The physical states of matter - gas, liquid and
Lesson 3. Particle pictures in a wider context
Lesson 4. Physical and Chemical Changes - differences
Lesson 5. Separation of Mixtures
How to separate and purify
mixtures is important in all chemistry where compounds are being prepared.
The basic techniques are
evaporation, filtration, distillation, crystallisation and other techniques
are mentioned in the miscellaneous section.
BUT there is more to separation
to this, many important forms of chemical analysis depend on separating
components in a mixture e.g. the different types of chromatography.
Other methods mentioned in
section 2.6 on instrument analysis won't be understood at the moment.
Quiz links to
Introducing Acids, Alkalis, pH Scale and
How to write
equations, work out formula and name compounds
- ONLY Sections 3.1a to 3.1d at the moment.
These for sub-sections teach you the basics of writing word equations and
how to write balanced symbol equations, the latter need to be numerically
balanced and may involve the use of state symbols.
Numerical balancing chemical
equations quizzes based on sections 3.1a to3.d
'name and formula' of a compound quizzes
An excellent year of keen 6th form chemistry
Now then, who is doing the posing here!
Having been retired from classroom teaching since 2003 I have done
home tuition in the North Yorkshire, Teesside and Cleveland areas in the
North-East of England e.g. students from Whitby, Goathland, Scarborough, Pickering, Redcar,
Middlesbrough, Saltburn, Guisborough etc. but now, I just work from home with a view to a second
retirement soon to concentrate on the website! So, I'm hoping, as an experienced teacher (and student!), for nearly
fifty years!, to put my experience fully into the website and via this page to produce
a home based self-tuition system in chemistry from UK KS3 science-chemistry level, through
GCSE/IGCSE/O level chemistry to advanced level chemistry (A/AS/A2 chemistry). However,
with trying to develop other aspects of the site, progress on this page is slow,
BUT, the work
methodically continues as I plod on, and I may continue to do private tuition!
The distant digital memory of 'my' busy, but,
untidy chemistry laboratory!