This is a worksheet designed for a flipped-classroom, in-class activity during the first course in our chemistry sequence. It teaches the basics of Molecular Orbital Theory from a semi-qualitative standpoint, by showing the constructive and destructive overlap of s-orbital "wavefunctions." The activity illustrates the formation of the bonding and antibonding molecular orbitals in H2, shows its molecular orbital diagram, and introduces the concept of bond order.
By completing this activity, students will develop the skills to:
- Describe what happens when two waves (or wavefunctions) add together.
- Draw the resulting wavefunctions from the overlap of s atomic orbitals.
- Describe covalent bonding in terms of electrons populating molecular orbitals.
- Explain what an antibonding orbital is.
- Use the concept of bond order to explain why He2 does not exist.
This worksheet has been used for several semesters as an in-class, group activity with guidance and support from an instructor. However, it could also be used as a homework activity, especially if assigned as group work.
As an in-class activity, we have never graded or evaluated student work on this activity.