“What are we doing to help kids achieve?”
Nomenclature is a tough topic. I tell students that we are living in the land of symbols while we study nomenclature. It is important but it is difficult to get them excited. I started fishing for resources. The American Association for Chemistry Teachers (AACT) has been a great resource to help me try new things.
A quick search of the AACT website allowed me to find a simple and effective nomenclature assignment with a twist. This was developed by Ms. Kathy Kitzmann of Mercy High School in Farmington Hills Michigan (retired). It is a relatively simple idea. The teacher prepares a series of vials of inorganic compounds. I made sure to glue the vials sealed and also glued them onto a small board. There are labels that provide either the names or the symbols of the substance in each specific container. Students rotate from station to station and examine the vials. Given the symbols, they must provide the formulas or given the formulas they must provide the symbols.
This activity has many advantages. One advantage is that it is a nice review. It also gets the students up and moving. There is an opening for the teacher to provide information about where the compounds are found. It is nice to examine the compounds with bright colors and talk about transition metals.
Student reaction to the activity was positive. They were encouraged to walk around, work in groups and apply the rules that we have been talking about to write the correct name or formula for each substance. It was different than just doing a worksheet or flipped assignment. It broke up the monotony of nomenclature.
Here is another crazy idea I am considering trying. What would happen if we used nomenclature to introduce bonding? Bonding is such a huge topic...could this be a way to “front load”?
Do you have a clever way to bring more interaction to a topic that sometimes might be a bit boring for students? Where does it fall in your curriculum? How does it work for you? Would love to hear from you.