Where to begin?
I think many people are aware that there are several states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. And maybe we know that there’s something called plasma, but I never really understood what it is and it only exists under weird conditions. Basically the molecules of whatever substance you’ve got form hard connections and move very little when in a solid state, usually induced by a lower temperature. Take ice as an example. The molecules aren’t moving much and have formed structures that maintain a strong connection. So ice is hard. And then there are liquids, in which their molecules move more freely but are still bound to each other, but also with less strength, so liquids can take on the shape of their container. Like water. And as for gas, the molecules are separating and moving around a lot more, like steam. So we understand that heat is a means by which we can transform matter from one state to another.
These transformations are called physical changes which is an important distinction between a chemical change, where the molecules change. For example, water is made of H20. A chemical change would mean that the H20 could become an hydrogen atom and two oxygen atoms or some other combination of the atoms.
Then there’s the structure of atoms. There are electrons, protons, and neutrons. The electrons have a negative charge and surround the nucleus of the atom where the protons and neutrons reside. And now we get to the wonderful chart, the Periodic Table of Elements.
So that’s a whole lot of information. Some of it you know like Hydrogen and Helium are the first two and that Oxygen is number 8. And maybe that salt is NaCL, which is Sodium Chloride, a combination of Sodium, an alkali metal, and Chlorine, a nonmetal.
The atomic number indicates the number of electrons, protons and neutrons, usually. Sometimes electrons and neutrons are different in special cases. And that also determines the weight of the atom.
I guess I’ll leave it here for know and we can get into the nitty gritty of the elements another time.