Project Title

Incorporating Computational Molecular Modeling into Teaching VSEPR Theory and Molecular Geometry in General Chemistry Courses

Major

Chemistry

Department

Chemistry

Degree

Graduate

Mentor

Donghui Quan

Mentor Department

Chemistry

Abstract

At EKU, majority of undergraduate students are required to take a lower-level chemistry course. The most common being General Chemistry I and II (CHE 111 and 112). A challenging topic within these courses is Valence Shell Electron Pair (VSEPR) theory where students continuously struggle with predicting the geometries of molecules. A common misconception among the students is predicting the 3D structure from a given lewis structure and it stems from students lacking the pre-requisite knowledge of the material. By incorporating computational molecular modeling into these courses, studies show that students have a greater success and better understanding of the material. In this study, a 3D printer and molecular modeling software are used to generate real and electronic molecular models aiming at assisting the students in overcoming misconceptions of VSEPR theory. A laboratory activity was also modified to include a molecular modeling software that allowed students to create a 3D structure from a lewis structure while a PowerPoint presentation was created to show how atomic orbitals hybridize in different geometries. Inclusion of all these new course materials will enhance students learning and enrich their understanding of molecular geometry.

Presentation format

Poster

Poster Number

002

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Incorporating Computational Molecular Modeling into Teaching VSEPR Theory and Molecular Geometry in General Chemistry Courses

At EKU, majority of undergraduate students are required to take a lower-level chemistry course. The most common being General Chemistry I and II (CHE 111 and 112). A challenging topic within these courses is Valence Shell Electron Pair (VSEPR) theory where students continuously struggle with predicting the geometries of molecules. A common misconception among the students is predicting the 3D structure from a given lewis structure and it stems from students lacking the pre-requisite knowledge of the material. By incorporating computational molecular modeling into these courses, studies show that students have a greater success and better understanding of the material. In this study, a 3D printer and molecular modeling software are used to generate real and electronic molecular models aiming at assisting the students in overcoming misconceptions of VSEPR theory. A laboratory activity was also modified to include a molecular modeling software that allowed students to create a 3D structure from a lewis structure while a PowerPoint presentation was created to show how atomic orbitals hybridize in different geometries. Inclusion of all these new course materials will enhance students learning and enrich their understanding of molecular geometry.