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Chris Mullins, University of Kentucky
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 03/14/2008 - 3:42pm

Anyone know of good games or activities for teaching nomenclature

We are know working on basic chemical nomenclature of ionic and diatomic molecular compounds (we are in Chapter 2 of Chang) in our first semester General Chemistry course. I am looking for a good, low prep time resource for using an in-class activity to aid in the learning process. I'd like to utilize this either tomorrow (Friday) or next Wednesday (after the Labor Day holiday). I apologize for the short notice.

Things I have found online but am uncertain about are:

CHEM-DECK: How to Learn to Write the Formulas of Chemical Compounds (or Lose Your Shirt).
  Sherman, AlanSherman, Sharon J.

Journal of Chemical Education, v57 n7 p503-04 Jul 1980
I was thinking about a card game, just not sure if the CHEM-DECK approach is exactly what I was looking for...
Please feel free to email me directly at csmullins@campbellsville.edu if you have a good resource you've used.
Chris Mullins
Campbellsville University
Barbara Reisner, James Madison University
Last seen: 2 hours 14 min ago
Joined: 11/17/2007 - 11:01am

Chris, I'll be curious to see what people suggest. I don't have a good suggestion for something to do in class, but I have a suggestion for a great reinforcing activity for students to do at home: Shelia Woodgate's Best Choice, http://bestchoice.net.nz/. A few days ago, I took a look at the section on naming and think it's just what my students need to follow-up on what we're doing in class. To get to this section, you need to enter into Best Choice in 'Demo' mode. Then, along the right hand side, you will see a list of topics. Select 'Compounds' and then 'Ions and molecules'.

Hilary Eppley, DePauw University
Last seen: 22 hours 37 min ago
Joined: 11/17/2007 - 11:03am
Never actually tried it before, but what about dividing the class in two and bringing up "contestants" two by two and giving them a problem to solve on the board. Whoever wins gets some number of points, and if someone writes an incorrect answer they lose a point. Work your way through the whole class and whichever team is ahead at the end wins a prize: candy, extra credit, VIPEr tatoos, whatever you can think of. Easy and would interject a little competitive spirit....Let us all know what you try!
Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College
Last seen: 14 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 11/17/2007 - 10:55am

I did organic chemistry functional group bingo in recitation with my first years once.  I made an Excel sheet that randomized the functional groups.  You could easily add more words and do inorganic nomenclature.  I'll look for it at post it to the site. 

I know this is too late for you;  I just saw your post.


Joanne Stewart, Hope College
Last seen: 1 day 22 hours ago
Joined: 11/17/2007 - 11:05am
This is perfect, Barb! I just taught this in gen chem today, so I will send this link out to my students! Thanks.
Shirley Hicks, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Last seen: 10 years 3 months ago
Joined: 02/28/2010 - 10:07am

I'm a computer science major taking an introductory chemistry course.I found this discussion while looking for some online drills to hammer chemical nomenclature into _my_ head. 

 As I haven't yet found anything satisfactory, do you think there would be some interest if I was to develop a chemical nomenclature drill game? I'd probably be able to do so within the next six - nine months.

Shirley Hicks

Undergrad, computer science

University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College
Last seen: 14 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 11/17/2007 - 10:55am


if you want help adding your game to the site, email one of the leadership group:


Sheila Smith, University of Michigan- Dearborn
Last seen: 1 week 17 hours ago
Joined: 06/17/2009 - 11:55pm

In searching for my own resources on this, I recently came across A version of battleship, ("You sank my battleship") using periodic tables.