The Names to Formulas 1 Concept Builder is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Concept Builder can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

We're going to be honest: we do Physics. That's why this is called The Physics Classroom website. And when we do the Teacher's Notes section for our Concept Builders, we typically have a lot to say ... and a lot of resources to point you to. We're not claiming to be ignorant of chemistry; we just don't have a lot of resources here at The Physics Classroom to point you to. And so this page is going to be a lot shorter than our usual page that accompanies our Physics Concept Builders. That's our honest confession.

A typical objective in the beginning of many chemistry courses is to write formulas for chemical compounds if given their names (and to write names if given their formulas). That is what this Concept Builder is all about. There are three difficulty levels in all. The questions in each are identical. Three names are presented to students and three proposed formulas accompany each name. Students must inspect the proposed formula and decide if it is correctly written or not. They must select all incorrect formulas. There are often more than one incorrectly written formulas. 

The activity is not intended as a replacement of formula writing; it is a reinforcement of formula writing. It provides students with an opportunity to pause and think about the rules and to inspect the given formulas to see if they are breaking the rules. Students must ask:
  • How do I know the charge on a metal or non-metal?
  • What do I do with that charge when writing a formula?
  • Are the subscripts properly written?
  • Have the subscripts been reduced to their lowest ratio?
  • Should parenthesis be included?
  • Do the parentheses surround the proper symbols?
  • What do I do when there is a Roman numeral?

The compounds in this Concept Builder are all binary ionic compounds. Molecular compounds and compounds containing polyatomic ions are included in another Concept Builder. - Names to Formulas 2. There are 42 questions in this Concept Builder. They are organized into 14 Question Groups. Questions in the same group are very similar to one another. If a student misses a question from within a particular Question Group, then they will have to answer two different questions correctly (without any further miss) from that same Question Group. This strategy provides students extra practice on their most troublesome questions. The questions can be viewed on a separate page.

Like all our Concept Builders, this Concept Builder utilizes a variety of strategies to make each student's experience different. The ordering of questions is random. The Question number assigned to each question is scrambled. For instance, two side-by-side students will not have the same question for question number three. And questions are organized into "groups" with questions within the same group being very similar (for instance, they have the same type of chemical compounds) but not identical.

The Concept Builder also keeps track of student progress. It requires that students demonstrate a mastery of questions in each Question Group. If they miss a question from one group, then they will have to answer two consecutive questions correctly in order to demonstrate mastery. Progress is displayed in the progress report on the right side of the Concept Builder. A star indicates a demonstration of mastery. A question with a red background indicates that the student has missed the question. And a question with a yellow background means that the student must get one more question from that Question Group correctly answered in order to obtain a star. When an activity is completed, the student will be awarded a Trophy. This Trophy is displayed on the Main Menu screen. These strategies make the Concept Builder an ideal addition to the 1:1 classroom and other settings in which computers are readily available. 

In order to complete an activity, a student must correctly analyze each question of that difficulty level. If a student's analysis is incorrect, then the student will have to correctly analyze the same or very similar question twice in order to successfully complete the activity. This approach provides the student extra practice on questions for which they exhibited difficulty. As a student progresses through an activity, a system of stars and other indicators are used to indicate progress on the activity. A star is an indicator of correctly analyzing the question. Once a star is earned, that question is removed from the que of questions to be analyzed. Each situation is color-coded with either a yellow or a red box. A red box indicates that the student has incorrectly analyzed the question and will have to correctly analyze it twice before earning a star. A yellow box is an indicator that the question must be correctly analyzed one time in order to earn a star. Once every question of a difficulty level has been analyzed, the student earns a Trophy which is displayed on the Main Menu. This system of stars and trophies allows a teacher to easily check-off student progress or offer credit for completing assigned difficulty levels.

The most valuable (and most overlooked) aspect of this Concept Builder is the Help Me! feature. Each question group is accompanied by a Help page that discusses the specifics of the question. This Help feature transforms the activity from a question-answering activity into a concept-building activity. The student who takes the time to use the Help pages can be transformed from a guesser to a learner and from an unsure student to a confident student. The "meat and potatoes" of the Help pages are in the sections titled "How to Think About This Situation:" Students need to be encouraged by teachers to use the Help Me! button and to read this section of the page. A student that takes time to reflect upon how they are answering the question and how an expert would think about the situation can transform their naivete into expertise. 


Follow Us