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Substitute words:

Reactivity Series Substitute Words

Cash Swim
Ruby Dam
Pot Ash
Lee Team
Bury Ham
Strong Team
Gal Swim
Make Knees Swim
A Loom in ham
Mango Knees
Crow Meow
Iron (Cloth Iron)
Cat Meow
Cow Ball
Knee Call
Tin (Can of eatables/Tin Sheet)
Aunty Money
Bus Mat
More Curry/Planet Mercury
Silvery Jewellery
Gold Jewellery
Plaiting Nun

Go through the above table to get familiar with the names of the metals/elements and also the
substitute words. You have to get so familiar with the both that next time when you see the zinc, the
substitute word sing should immediately pop up. Now dont get overwhelmed. Going through the list 5
times will do the magic!
Once you have done the above exercise, take a 15 minute break! When you are back check whether you
remember the substitutes.
The memory techniques that I am going to teach here will help you to remember the reactivity series
forwards and backwards. You will be able to remember which elements react with what and also how
they are extracted! Learning these techniques will fuel all sorts of innovation and I am sure, you will
come with your own method to learn the reactivity series.
Cutting to the chase, we will now use the liking system and story method to associate/link the
substitute words with one another.
Linking System and Story Method:
We need a starting point to learn the series and we will use reaction (Reactivity). I imagine a
chemical reaction in the lab, the test tubes burst and all kinds of colourful, smoky elements start
bubbling out and they make strange sounds and suddenly you spot huge amount of cash swimming in
those slimy chemicals (Caesium-cash swim) and the cash reaches out of this world dam which is

adorned with rubies all over (Rubidium) and people throw pots full of ash (Potassium) (Like in
Indian Tradition, Hindus dont bury the dead but burn them and they sprinkle the ash in river bodies)
and you see far away, some is collecting that ash to make soda and that soda (Sodium) is grabbed by
Lees team (Bruce Lee) because it is illegal and then the whole team starts burying the ham that they
got along (Barium) and they start developing muscles and their team becomes very very strong
(Strontium) and suddenly a gal is swimming (Calcium), swiftly floating over the water but she is
making her knees swim (Magnesium) and then a huge loom which has gotten obese because it is
sitting on a hug lump of ham, eating it all the time (Aluminium) comes floating but it is outsized by
Titanic (Titanium) and on Titanic, the crew are wearing mangoes on their knees (Manganese) and
they start singing vociferously (Zinc) and irritated by this, a huge ferocious crow comes and sits and
to everyones surprise, it cries meow and not caw (Chromium) and the crow is given a scare of his
life by giving it a taste of hot iron on one of its legs (Iron) and from nowhere hundreds of cats jump in
who are riding on iron boxes (Cadmium) and the dodge the ball thrown by the cow (Cobalt) and
seeing all this, the Knee makes a call (Nickel) and the knee gets hit by millions of tins (Tin) and the
tins reflect a silvery light all over (Lead) and because of the light, aunty becomes suddenly alert, who
is carrying a hug sack of money (Antimony) and aunty is picked by a bus which is riding on a mat
like Aladdin (Bismuth) and this mat bangs a Copter (copper) and loses control and reaches another
planet named Mercury (Mercury) and on Mercury, there is silver (Silver) and gold jewellery all over
(Gold) and in one corner a nun is sitting and plaiting her hair(Platinum).
Go through the above story and picture it like a movie. Make the images as ridiculous as possible. For
example, the crow cries meow instead of caw. Make it humorous. See the crew laughing their hearts
-out, see the embarrassed face of the crow. Exaggerate, make the images illogical. Seeing a normal
crow wont work. See a crow which is tattooed on its head or something else. Use your imagination
and creativity.
Once you are familiar with both substitutes and the story, check whether you will remember the name
of the elements. For example, what comes when you see the chemical reaction in the lab, cash
swimming and it triggers caesium and then they swim to a dam which is adorned with rubies and it
triggers rubidium!
Similarly work backwards and you will be amazed!
The next challenge it figure out a way to learn which elements react with what and how they are
extracted. This is pretty easy.
The elements till calcium react with water and electrolysis is used for their extraction. Imagine a huge
barrel of water being splashed (water) on the gal swimming and she is electrocuted.
Now the question is how does the above association help to remember the reaction and extraction?
Well, simple. Use your normal memory to get the picture of water splashing on gal swimming which
should remind you that calcium reacts with water and then electrocution should remind you of
electrolysis. From calcium work backwards-who saw the girl swimming-strong team (strontium) and
Remember, the illumination of light because of the light reflecting from tins? Now draw a mental
picture where the light starts diminishing because someone is pouring acid on it and to counter-attack
acid, you pour coke from a huge bottle. Ridiculous isnt it. But if you remember, the substitute word
for lead is light. So lead reacts with acid and it is extracted by smelting coke. Now work backwards
from lead to calcium and you will get all the elements/metals that react with coke and which are
smelted using coke.
Finally picture a plaiting nun (Platinum) wearing oxygen (Oxidizing) mask and pours acid (acid) and
she is also heating (head) something in a big cauldron.
The above mental scene should give you the key words-Platinum, Oxidizing acid and heat. Work
backwards from platinum to lead and it will give you the elements that would react with oxidizing
acids and ones which can be extracted using heat.
I believe, the above article has helped you to learn, remember and memorize the reactivity series. If
not, at least has provoked you to develop your own system to remember the reactivity table. One can
draw inspiration from anything, but the question is how well he executes his plan.
Experiment with my system, come up with your own substitute words, mental images and improvise
and see what it does to your memory.