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How to Memorize the Periodic Table Painlessly

I've had this secret nerdy desire to memorize the periodic table for a while now.  We've run across it in our memory work a couple of times and my kids and I have been so proud to master the first ten.  It took time, effort, and what felt like blood, sweat, and tears.  Then last year, when my son was in the 8th grade, he memorized all the way through the first 18 elements.  Wow.  I know.  Impressive.

Or so I thought.

I'd just about given up on my desire when I heard about Kyle Buchanan's amazing videos that walk you through memorizing the periodic table from start to finish painlessly!  I watched his first intro video and I was hooked!  These are amazing, and you're going to love not only learning the periodic table, but also learning a wonderful tool that you can use to help memorize anything you like!

How to Memorize the Periodic Table Painlessly

I received free access to Memorize the Periodic Table in exchange for an honest review. I was compensated for my time spent reviewing the product and writing this post. All opinions expressed are my own – I was not required to write a positive review.  This post may contain affiliate links.  See my full disclosure policy for more information. 

Using a Picture Story to Memorize the Periodic Table

The visual memory is an amazingly strong tool for remembering things.  Mr. Buchanan takes his students down a crazy road to help them memorize the periodic table in a way that is immensely enjoyable, and that they will be able to remember for a long time.   Don't believe me?  Try this little test:


How'd you do?  It's pretty remarkable isn't it?  Why didn't I know this when I was growing up?!  Some of those long study sessions could have been much more enjoyable if only I would have doodled my way through a zany story to memorize the material.

Mr. Buchanan uses the "link and story" method for memorizing to tie the periodic table together in such a way that is unforgettable and keeps you laughing.  You start with the fire hydrant to remember hydrogen.

Periodic table memory techniques

Our family favorite is the "Night Row Gen."  You see, that hydrant goes for a joy ride with a helium balloon (Helium).  The balloon has a slow leak that sounds like a lisp (Lithium) which a bee finds very yummy (Beryllium) and decides to bore on to get some more (Boron).  When he does this it drops the hydrant on a jeep which sounds like a car bomb (Carbon).  No worries, because the general that owned the jeep was out on the river for a night row.  He does this so often, he's known as the "Night Row Gen!" (Nitrogen).

link and story method for memory

Adding Extra Work to a Packed Schedule

I know some of you might be like me and see wonderful ideas like this and think, "That looks amazing, but I'm pressed for time to get everything done as it is!"  While the product says you can learn up to 50 elements in an hour, we decided to take it a bit slower and add this to our family morning time.

Each morning we would tackle ten elements, sometimes fifteen when we got really excited to hear the next part of the story.  This took about twenty minutes.  The whole family joined in on the fun, and we would take time to tell the story one element at a time around the table.  Amazingly everyone enjoyed the learning!  My nine year old always loves when she can be included in the learning and succeed.  She's rocking memorizing the periodic table.

Periodic Table Memory Story

Resources Available to Memorize the Periodic Table

The cool thing is that if you're just looking to learn a little bit, Mr. Buchanan gives you the story for the first 20 elements for FREE here!

The Full Resource - only $37:

If you or one of your children shares my secret nerdy desire to learn the whole thing, the full resource is incredible!  Not only can you learn the entire periodic table, but you also get a load of extra resources that make reviewing and retaining the information painless.  This resource includes:

  • Complete videos for all 118 elements
  • BONUS videos to help you recall the atomic numbers
  • BONUS visual reference guide of all 118 illustrated elements
  • BONUS guide on how to memorize the chemical symbols

We printed off the visual reference guide to make a great review game, as well as extending the learning by building a periodic table with the pictures.  We cut the images out and colored the backs of the papers in relation to their chemical make-up.

Periodic Table Memory tools

Periodic Table Memory Helps

Mr. Buchanan is always working to make sure his courses contain the most up-to-date information as possible.  Since four elements have recently been upgraded to official element status, he'll be updating the videos as soon as their official names are released.  Make sure to follow him on Facebook to get updates and great tips for learning more!

14 Comments

  1. […] at Family Style Schooling shared a great way to memorize the Periodic Table.  She thought this would be great for Challenge B students.  (Since I have a son who asked for a […]

  2. Traci on September 2, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    This looks great! I see the link for his videos but is there a download for the flashcards with the pictures on them? I’d really like to get those. Thanks!

    • Betsy on September 2, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      When you buy the $20 option, it comes with an image sheet for reference. I just cut that sheet up and made flash cards out of it! They are really fun.

  3. Abbi on September 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Fun! I want to teach these to my kids this year and also possibly in our homeschool co-op so I will keep this resource in mind.

  4. Aditi on September 13, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Wow! This is incredible. How I wish I too had this amazing set with me when I was learning periodic tables. Mr. Buchanan has did a great job. I am going to share it with my Logic Roots Network and get all the parents buy them for their kids.

    Great review Betsy!

    • Betsy on September 13, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      It is so much fun! It makes memorizing an incredible amount of difficult information approachable. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jamie on February 6, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I’m wondering how to get the flashcards you have on this website? My son loved memorizing the elements and is so proud to list them off all in order to anyone who is around! We would love to get the flashcards also.

    • Betsy on February 6, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      When you order the $20 option, it comes with a visual reference sheet. I just printed that out on card stock and cut it up to make my own flashcards. We’ve loved them!

  6. Janeen Oesterling on March 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Betsy,
    Thanks for sharing this resource. I’m having some trouble finding the full resource for $19.95. Do you have a link to it somewhere? The “Memorize Academy” store has something priced at $27, but I’m not sure if I’m looking at the right thing. Did the price go up? If you can help, I’d appreciate it. :o)

    • Betsy on March 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      It looks like the price has gone up. Sorry about that!

  7. Jenny on April 8, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    When you buy the full resource for the periodic table of elements, how long does the access last?

    • Betsy on April 9, 2018 at 10:20 am

      It’s lifetime access.

  8. Kristina Ellis on March 20, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    I’m sad the price went up to $37 and doesn’t include the book. Very neat resource though.

    • Betsy on March 21, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks for the update! I just updated my post. It is really a great resource that we’ve continued to go back to frequently!

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