Solubility rules are among the most important things you’ll need to memorise in your VCE Chemistry studies. There are two main ways to get this done: either learn a set of rules or memorise all the compounds you need by themselves. I use a mixture of these two methods to figure out whether a compound dissolves in water or not.
Test your students (or yourselves) with a set of Soluble or Not? flashcards. Each flashcard has a commonly-used compound on the front (e.g. Zn(OH)2) and the word SOLUBLE or NOT on the back.
There are three ways to use these cards.
1. Name the compound.
Present the cards to the student white side up. The student should state the full name including Roman numerals (e.g. iron(III) oxide) as quickly and accurately as possible.
2. State the formula.
Present the cards red/green side up. The student should state the chemical formula of each compound accurately. This step also serves as a primer for the next stage, which requires students to know whether each of these compounds is soluble. The solutions are visible during this step of the game.
3. Soluble or Not?
Present the cards white-side up again. Ask the student to separate the cards into two piles (“SOLUBLE” and “NOT”) without turning them over. At the end, collect all the cards, turn them all over and review the ones that were incorrect. Repeat weekly until the student can get all of them right.
This is where you might want to buy your own set of cards. I’ve hand-picked compounds that come up frequently in VCE examinations from units 1-4, and these will help you focus your learning.