5 Exciting Ways to Teach Chemical Nomenclature to Keep Students Interested

Job Brisby Eloja

The substances that make up our bodies all have unique names. To name these substances, students must use naming conventions set by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). 

Living things are made up of both organic and inorganic compounds. Inorganic compounds, in particular, are substances made up of two or more elements in definite proportions. One important characteristic of inorganic compounds is they do not have carbon-carbon or carbon-hydrogen bonds. Substances that have these bonds are the organic compounds.

The nomenclature (naming conventions) of inorganic compounds can be quite confusing, especially for students who are learning it for the first time. There are lots of rules to consider. 

But there are more creative and exciting ways to teach this topic. Here are five ways to teach chemical nomenclature of inorganic compounds without the confusion.

1. Use Interactive Molecular Models

The molecules of inorganic compounds have certain shapes and forms. Instructors can make use of interactive models of various inorganic compounds to help students visualize these substances. If students can see what they look like at the molecular level, they will gain a better understanding of the topic.

Interactive models can also inform students of the accurate 3D structure of molecules. They can visualize it better than if they only look at 2D illustrations from textbooks. Students can rotate the models, look more closely, or see the molecules as a whole. 

Molecular models can also be used to demonstrate chemical reactions. Students will be able to tell which parts of the compounds react with other compounds. 

More so, molecular models are useful in teaching the chemical properties of compounds. They can explore concepts like electronegativity, polarity, and atomic size in more detail. 

2. Use Games and Activities to Make It Fun

This may sound odd for most educators. But games and activities can help students learn this topic more than traditional textbooks and lectures. While they’re playing, students do not even realize that they are actually learning along the way.

Try giving a pop quiz after letting your students play an educational game. You’ll be surprised that many of them will get good scores.

Lab simulations are great tools for students to learn this topic in a more fun, engaging way. The Chemical Nomenclature virtual lab from Labster is one such simulation game. It lets students explore anions, cations, ionic bonding, and the IUPAC naming system for inorganic compounds. 

Naming ionic compounds in virtual lab.
Discover Labster's Chemical Nomenclature virtual lab today!

The simulation also lets students explore the structures of inorganic compounds at their own pace. This way, students can repeat certain parts of the simulation to master complex concepts.

3. Integrate Technology in the Classroom

Technologies like online quizzes, tutorials, videos, and mobile apps can make the learning experience a lot more appealing. Students of today even expect their instructors to use technology to enhance classroom lessons.

Online quizzes can help gauge students’ learning, and they can do it at their own pace. These quizzes can also help them find out what areas they need to improve.

Tutorials and videos are similarly helpful. They demonstrate the rules of chemical nomenclature in step-by-step, easy to understand processes. This way, students can appreciate the rules of chemical nomenclature both through visuals and sound

Mobile apps and games that teach this topic are also helpful. The good thing is students can take these apps with them wherever they go. All they need are their phones, and they can access these apps anywhere and anytime.

4. Inspire Students by Exploring Careers

Students will be more inspired to learn this topic if they know how they can use it in their future careers. Chemical nomenclature is needed in jobs such as:

  • Analytical chemist
  • Medical doctor
  • Nurse
  • Forensic scientist
  • Medical laboratory scientist

If students want to get into such careers, instructors can emphasize how critical this topic is. This way, students will have more motivation to study the topic well.

5. Connect the Topic to the Real World

Chemical nomenclature may seem overly complicated, but it does have applications in the real world. If students know how they can use this topic in real life, they will want to learn it more.

This topic is used in industries like manufacturing. Cleaning solutions, insecticides, air fresheners, and many other things people use at home use chemical nomenclature in their manufacturing processes. The manufacturers must know the exact chemical names of the active ingredients. If students can see chemical names in common items they use at home, they will gain a higher appreciation of this topic.

Final Thoughts

Chemical nomenclature may be intimidating at first glance, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instructors can use a wide range of engaging teaching methods to help students with this topic. 

Structure bank in a virtual lab.

Let students try out Labster’s Chemical Nomenclature virtual lab. This way, they can see how inorganic compounds are formed and how they are named. They will have fun while learning the naming conventions that they need to be familiar with. Through this virtual lab, chemical nomenclature will not be as complicated as it normally would be.

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