Submitted by Sheila Smith / University of Michigan- Dearborn on Thu, 06/23/2011 - 14:55
My Notes

This is an in class exercise that I use to introduce structure and magnetism to a junior/senior level course on bioinorganic chemistry. The class is cross-listed between Chemistry and Biochemistry. All of the students have had general chemistry and organic (with some exposure to MO Theory). Many of the students have also had the sophomore-level inorganic course, which delves extensively into MO theory, and some of the the students have also had the senior-level course on transition metal chemistry which looks deeply at d-orbital splitting. Because of the different levels of preparedness, the questions that I discuss in class as a result of the worksheet vary.  

Learning Goals

• A student should be able to identify the number of d-electrons for a given oxidation state for a given metal.
• A student should be able to fill the orbital energy diagram, applying the Aufbau Principle, Hund's Rule, and the Pauli Exclusion Principle.
• A student should be able to distinguish between a magnetic and a paramagnetic configuration.

Equipment needs


Implementation Notes

While this LO was written with a bioinorganic course in mind, it could easily be used in an inorganic class as an example of the usefulness of magnetism to applied problems.

Time Required
15-20 minutes depending on the amount of discussion you wish to have


Evaluation Methods

As an in-class exercise, this activity is evaluated based on the quality of the discussion that is generated. Students work together in groups to apply their knowledge of electronic structure and magnetism to answer the question posed. In a perfect world, this discussion leads to further discussion on techniques that can be used to distinguish between different geometries.

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA
Chris Mullins / University of Kentucky


This is a great (easy to utilize) little exercise. I shall try to use it next time I teach Bioinorganic, which sadly will not likely be during academic year 2011-12 as we will have only a 2 person dept. this fall.

Tue, 06/28/2011 - 14:14 Permalink