Tony Tooth looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers

Silly names

molecule (with silly name)

Source: Paul May

This is a good site for a bit of personal relaxation at the end of a hard day or to find ideas for introducing some light relief when choosing molecules to use in questions on organic reactions in an unfamiliar context. Unusually named compounds include penguinone and moronic acid as well as many too 'near the knuckle' to name here. 


This section of the vast RSC LearnNet website focuses on ir, mass and 1H-nmr spectra for a database of 27 compounds. The spectra copy easily into other documents. In addition to a database of all the spectra, there is a tutorial that explains features of the spectra of five compounds.  

For example, clicking on a peak from the 1H-nmr spectrum for one of the tutorial compounds causes the relevant hydrogens in the adjacent molecular structure to flash, while clicking a peak in the mass spectrum shows the fragment responsible. A 'problems' section requires you to identify a compound from the database by working through a series of clues relating to its various spectra and other chemical tests - a useful teaching tool after the basics have been covered. Finally, there are three short videos explaining the practical aspects of each of the analytical techniques. 

[Link no longer available]

Resource site

Supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), this website presents a range of ICT materials designed to support the teaching of chemistry across the 11-19 age range. Many of the materials have been produced by chemistry teachers for use with their own students; others have been developed with RSC support. Clicking on the 'all resources' link at the bottom of the left-hand navigation list on the homepage is the easiest way to access the 100 or so resources on offer.  

Among the materials to download from the first page of links are Steve Lewis' three PowerPoint presentations on organic reaction mechanisms, each of which is linked to a specification (AQA, Edexcel, OCR). These provide an excellent way of working through each of the mechanisms 'click-by-click', which gives a clear idea of the use and significance of curly arrows. The Born-Haber cycle PowerPoint shows a succinct, sequential process for calculating the lattice energy for sodium chloride.  

In some cases the files to download are collected together in a single zip file, eg a comprehensive set of teaching resources on bonding and some PowerPoints from Richard Grime of fame - though you'll need to download Chemfont otherwise his equilibrium arrows will appear as clock faces.