I think we can all agree that the descriptive chemistry of the elements (I am thinking mostly of the p block, but some aspects of the d block as well) is:
- hard or boring to teach
This may be a generational thing, and maybe I'm young(er), and the pendulum is way on one side, but when I read books like Cotton & Wilkinson or Greenwood & Earnshaw, where they say that facts are more important than theories, I tend to disagree. Some of my coworkers, however, firmly believe that facts trump theories. Given the limited time we all have to teach inorganic chemistry, one has to make choices about content to include or discard. I have tended to spend a lot (my students might say a LOT) of time on MO theory, while paying only the barest lip service to descriptive chemistry. I have, once or twice, taught units on halogens and noble gas chemistry (since those are at least things the students have not seen, especially noble gas chemistry), but these days, I have added units on the "more important" fields of organometallics or solid state or bioinorganic. I put a little descriptive chemistry in here and there, where it fits (VSEPR is a good place to at least mention a little, for example, why you can form IF7 but only ClF5 or BrF5) and I put quite a bit in my acid/base unit (that I teach in Analytical).
Any thoughts from the collected masses on this topic? I don't really have a question (or a point, perhaps) but I am curious how others think about this topic.