You taught them metals vs nonmetals. You taught them to name ionic compounds. You taught them to name covalent compounds. But, now when it comes to putting the big picture together everyone just got lost.
#1 Do Students Know Metals/Nonmetals?
When your students name a compound, they should first ask themselves, “Is it a metal and a nonmetal or a nonmetal and a nonmetal?” This is the step most students forget because they just want to name it.
Students don't realize that they need to put what they've learned over the last few weeks together.
Remind them that metals are on the left side of the periodic table, and nonmetals are on the right. If you didn't color code this lesson, you might want to have them do that now.
Also, remind students that a polyatomic ion acts like a nonmetal when bonding.
#2 Do They Know Ionic Covalent?
If students understand the metal/nonmetal rule and are still having issues, they may be having trouble with ionic and covalent definitions.
If you have students who really don't understand, try asking instead, “Are the elements close together or far apart?” That trick works for 95% of the problems.
Is it ionic or covalent? So if it is metal and nonmetal (“far apart”) it is an ionic bond. If it is nonmetal and nonmetal (“close together”) then it is a covalent bond.
This is probably the biggest breakdown in understanding for naming compounds. So, if students are struggling, throw several ionic and covalent compounds on the board and ask them, “How would you name this? Would you name it with the ionic rules? Or the covalent rules? Are you sure? Why?”
That will get everyone on the same page and help you identify the comprehension problem.
#3 Give Them a Practice Test in Class
Make the test pretty short. Something that should take them 10-12 minutes. Have them come in and take it like a test. Peer grade it and say, "Okay, this is where you are at."
Then ask, “Are you happy with that grade? Where are your weaknesses? Where did you mess up? Did you start EACH problem by asking yourself is it ionic or covalent? If you didn’t, was it because you forgot or don’t know what that means?”.
Then have students work in groups to figure out the correct answers walk around as they do this.
Then show them again (I know!) that
Ionic = metal + nonmetal or metal + polyatomic
Covalent = nonmetal + nonmetal
Have students write (with words!) what they did wrong and why they did it that way beside each problem.
The point of this exercise is to show students how to find their weaknesses.
Hi! I'm CoScine. I write chemistry worksheets for visual learners. They are fun, easy to follow, and most of them are quick to grade. Since I started my teaching career at the college level, these aren't just simple chemistry. These worksheets are hard core science made fun.