26 Jan 2012

Inorganic Nomenclature and Point Group Identification: Combined In Class exercise

In-Class Activity

Submitted by Sheila Smith, University of Michigan- Dearborn

I use this exercise in my 400-level Inorganic (Transition Metals) course.  Students have been introduced to assigning point groups in a 300- level Inorganic course on bonding theories.  Therefore, I combine a review of assigning point groups with the introduction to inorganic nomenclature in my advanced course.  This seems to break up the tedium of the rules for nomenclature while stressing that the need for such elaborate names comes from the need to correctly identify one structure among may isomeric possibilities.

Students are provided with a flow chart for assigning point groups (I use the one from Housecroft and Sharpe because I think it is the clearest). Since this is copyrighted material I can't share that on VIPEr, but it and others are available in various texts.

I also provide a concise list of rules for Inorganic nomenclature, cobbled together from various texts over the years, but written to match my teaching style; this is provided in the documentation.

A key is also provided.


Learning Goals: 

Students will be able to correctly name (both IUPAC and common names) inorganic complexes (both coordination complexes and organometallic complexes).

Students will be be able to correctly identify the chemical formula of inorganic complexes

Students will be able to draw 3- dimensional representations  (including Fischer projections when useful) of inorganic complexes from multiple perspectives, and use these images to correctly identify the point group of these molecules.  

Equipment needs: 

none are required.  Model kits may prove helpful to some students.

Implementation Notes: 

In a small class, I find it helpful to have students come to the board to practice drawing 3D representations of the molecules, and to work through the naming conventions.

Time Required: 
1 hour lecture
Evaluation Methods: 

Students work through this assignment as a group so no direct assessment is applied.  However, similar questions are included on subsequent homework sets and exams.

Evaluation Results: 

Practice is the only thing for getting this nomenclature right.  The more I can expose the students to this  in many different settings, the better their performance.  I have found that combining the naming with symmetry helps to emphasize that the rules are about making sure we're all talking about the same molecule.

Creative Commons License: 
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