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    Teaching Inorganic Nomenclature
    By Camilo Tabinas y ... | July 19th 2008 08:58 PM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Camilo Tabinas

    He is both a chemist and an educator. He teaches General chemistry, organic, and biochemistry for health sciences students as well as introductory...

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    DEAR GENERAL CHEMISTRY TEACHERS by CAMILO APITA TABINAS:



    GOOD DAY! I am pleased to introduce to you "Naming and Writing Simple Inorganic Chemical Formulas Text and Module with Worksheets", a book that offers an alternative method of teaching chemical nomenclature.


    As we all know, one major goal in teaching General Chemistry especially to non-chemistry majors is for the students to become literate in chemistry. Literacy in chemistry comes in two forms: The Literal Literacy, that is, being able to name and write chemical formulas, and the Conceptual Literacy, that is, being able to understand and apply the basic concepts and principles of chemistry. The 2006 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)in its scientific literacy framework defines scientific literacy as "(possessing) scientific knowledge and (being able) to use that knowledge..." 



    For the students to understand the basic concepts and principles in chemistry, chemical names and formulas are of importance, either as examples or objects of the concept itself.



    Speaking by experience, in our traditional lecture method of teaching nomenclature, it seems that our students became literate for they are able to pass the quizzes meetings after the lecture of nomenclature, but do not be misled because if you are going to test them at the end of the semester or as diagnostic at the beginning of the second semester of general chemistry course, possibility, you will find out that the students are illiterate in nomenclature. Should this happens, this finding will tempt you to give more time on nomenclature the next time you teach it. If you do this, you will not be able to finish your syllabus, for it will demand more meetings of chemistry classes, by that, you will leave out some important topics: concepts and principles in chemistry. We cannot sacrifice conceptual literacy over literal literacy and we cannot leave our students illiterate in chemical nomenclature either.


    My book Naming and Writing Simple Inorganic Chemical Formulas Text Module with Worksheets (published in 2006 by C&E Publishing, Inc., Philippines) offers you an alternative solution that will help your students become literate in nomenclature without sacrificing conceptual literacy. 


    Fellow teachers, God bless you in your endeavor to make your students literate in chemistry. Your suggestions for improvement are very much welcome. May we work together for the betterment of science.Please feel free to email me for comments and how to acquire the book. you can reach me at milescat29@gmail.com.
    Reference
    PISA (2006)  Program for International Student Assessment.  Retrieved on June 3, 2014 from p.4 of http://pisa.nutn.edu.tw/download/sample_papers/Sci_Framework-en.pdf

    Comments

    UvaE
    We cannot sacrifice conceptual literacy over literal literacy and we cannot leave our students illiterate in chemical nomenclature either.
    Good point.

    When teaching inorganic nomenclature, I try to make it as conceptual as I can---for example, emphasizing the differences between ionic and covalent compounds (even though they are extremes on a spectrum of possibilities.) The different set of rules then become justified. The incorrect name  dipotassium carbonate is redundant since it's implied from its charges that K+ and CO32- will combine to give potassium carbonate (K2CO3). But carbon oxide would be ambiguous because there are different covalent combinations that exist, hence the need for prefixes in such a class of compounds.


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