This in-class activity was designed for a Chemical Communications course with second-year students. It is the second part of a two-week segment in which students learn how to use ChemDraw (or similar drawing software to create digital drawings of molecules).
In this activity, students learn advanced techniques to visualize complex organometallic molecules and reaction schemes using ChemDraw. Students are presented with several images and reaction schemes taken directly from the organometallic literature and are tasked with recreating the images using ChemDraw. This gives students direct exposure to current literature, while learning useful skills in chemical visualization.
Students will be able to:
1. Convey 3-D structure of a molecule in a drawing.
2. Recreate molecular drawings found in the literature.
3. Create digital drawings of molecules using ChemDraw.
4. Create digital drawings of reaction schemes & cycles.
Computer for each student with ChemDraw installed.
This was implemented in a 24-student course in the week following an introduction to basic ChemDraw use. Students were shown the techniques in lecture format using the attached Powerpoint presentation. After the presentation, students had access to the slides and could refer to them while completing the activity.
In-class most students were mostly able to complete the worksheet using the powerpoint slides as a guide. However, the instructor also walked around to give individual tips and instruction.
The total time for the activity and lecture was 1 hour 50 min, but it could be shortened or assigned for homework.
In the section where students are asked to interpret molecular formulas, this is done ignoring ligand abbreviations, such as R groups or simplifications of chelating ligands. This could be left off, however it was a useful way to introduce students to drawing simplifications they may find in the literature. Most students just interpreted the formula based on what was drawn, and some students looked up the original papers to get a more accurate formula (although this takes much more time).
Students were evaluated during class for effort and participation, and the instructor gave immediate tips and feedback. After students submitted the assignment, it was graded for completion and effort.
Students were allowed to turn in the assignment 2 days later and 22/24 students completed the assignment. The most common errors were slight variances in bond angles and missing colors used in the literature figures. Overall, the quality of the submitted work was impressive, especially for second-year students.