5 Engaging Methods to Teach the Nomenclature of Aromatic Compounds

Anjaney Kothari

One of the biggest beefs students have with organic chemistry is the nomenclature of compounds. The naming conventions for organic compounds become taxing and difficult to comprehend as the molecules get larger and more complex. The task becomes even more complicated when naming aromatic compounds.

At the same time, learning aromatic compound nomenclature is crucial for effective communication and documentation of research. Understanding aromatic compound nomenclature also makes it easier to visualize the arrangement of atoms and bonds and accurately identify compounds. Thus, educators must develop exciting, new methods to teach aromatic compound nomenclature to their students. 

Here, we list five engaging methods to teach the nomenclature of aromatic compounds that will make it easier for students.

1. Engage Students with Interactive Models

Complex topics of study, like systematic nomenclature of aromatic compounds, can become easier to grasp if the students are able to visualize and interact with the subject matter. Interactive models allow for the visualization of complex molecular structures, which can make learning nomenclature simpler.

You can bring ball-and-stick models of some complex aromatic compounds and ask your students to name them following IUPAC conventions. The students can then:

·   Visualize the chemical structures,

·   Carefully interact with the molecules,

·   Understand the relative positions of different atoms, and

·   Learn how to name the compounds.

2. Make the Topic Fun with Games and Activities

Games and activities can make complex subjects less burdensome by adding a fun element to learning. They convert a regular lesson into an exciting competition that can accelerate learning.

For example, in Labster’s aromatic compound nomenclature virtual lab, students compete against a mysterious chemist to win the chem-lympics! The virtual lab includes several other minigames too. In a series of puzzles, the students name various benzene derivatives, starting with mono-substituted derivatives and graduating to tri-substituted derivatives. Plus, the students can restart any game if they make a mistake, allowing them to learn at their own pace.

Nomenclature of aromatic compounds virtual lab.

3. Incorporate Technology to Get Students Excited to Learn

Advanced technologies, like animation, simulation and virtual reality, bring a certain level of comfort and charisma to education. They get students excited about learning even highly demanding subjects by helping them visualize critical elements of the topic.

Take Labster’s aromatic compound nomenclature virtual lab, for example. In this virtual lab, a ‘holotable’ projects 3D images of different benzene derivatives that the students must name systematically. The students also interactively apply Huckel’s rule to identify aromatic compounds. Moreover, they get to design their own aromatic compound by using virtual 3D models.  

Determine huckle value in nomenclature of aromatic compounds virtual lab.
Discover Labster's aromatic compound nomenclature virtual lab today!

4. Inspire Students Through Career Exploration

To inspire students to learn a topic, tell them how they can apply it in a professional setting. This will help them think of the topic’s relevance to potential careers, and encourage them to study it more sincerely.

For example, inform your students how materials scientists and engineers use aromatic compound nomenclature to communicate about advanced materials. Tell them how pharmaceutical chemists require the knowledge of aromatic compound nomenclature to understand molecular structures of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Tell them how the chemists apply this understanding to design new drugs.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Applications

Knowing that naming of organic compounds could come in handy in a real-world scenario could be highly inspiring for students. Share with your students some real-world scenarios where aromatic compound nomenclature may find use.

For example, a variety of pharmaceuticals, polymers, and other chemicals that we use on a daily basis contain aromatic compounds. To ensure quality and consistency of form and function of these chemicals, one must use systematic aromatic compound nomenclature. Moreover, knowing the systematic name of an aromatic compound can help identify the functional groups present in the molecule. This, in turn, can help researchers predict the physicochemical properties of the aromatic compound.

Final thoughts

The systematic nomenclature of aromatic compounds is something many organic chemistry students dread immensely. But it is an important topic of study that creates the foundation for many academic and industrial careers. The methods that we have discussed here will help you make aromatic compound nomenclature an engaging and fun topic for your students.

Try our free 30-day All Access Educator's Pass today and teach with the Nomenclature of Aromatic Compounds simulation alongside 300+ other virtual labs!
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