If you always wanted to study chemistry but fate willed it otherwise, and going back to school isn’t an option, I have some good news for you. It’s possible to master the basic concepts of chemistry without the benefit of a lab or a teacher. All you need is the internet and a few good sites that allow you to download printable science worksheets for free. Here’s a brief outline of chemistry concepts you will learn as a novice. Most of these have to do with conversion, units and the interaction between atoms and molecules.
Before you commence your studies, you need to understand what chemistry is, what chemists actually do and know why you want to study the subject. Just pick a middle school science textbook and go through the chemistry section – if you think you can deal with that, you’re all set to go!
Units and measurements
If the above didn’t scare you off, you’re ready to start with the metric system and the commonly used units in chemistry. Once you feel you’ve mastered that, I’d suggest downloading a basic science worksheet and testing yourself. This will also give you more confidence and prep you for further research into the subject.
The scientific method
All scientists, chemists included, study the world in a systematic manner. The scientific method shows you how to collect data, design experiments and analyze the results in an objective way.
Elements and the periodic table
Elements are the primary building blocks of matter. They are organized in the Periodic Table according to their properties. As a budding chemist, you will need to learn what elements are, find out how the periodic table is designed and how to use it to understand the subject better. Again, as with other chemistry topics, there are several useful science worksheets you can use to learn the elements.
Ions, atoms and molecules
Ions are made up of one or multiple elements and have an electrical charge. An atom is a single unit of an element. When atoms come together they form molecules and compounds. You will have to learn how to identify different ions, identify the parts of an atom and learn how to calculate and express quantities.
Chemical formulae, reactions and equations
Chemical formulae depict how many of an ion or atom bond with others of their kind. Molecules and compounds also react with each other in different ways. This is an important part of your chemistry education and you also have to learn to name compounds, predict whether a reaction will occur and write equations to describe them.
I hope this gives you an idea of what you can expect when you start your chemistry education.