26 Mar 2018

Identifying Isomers

In-Class Activity

Submitted by Anne Bentley, Lewis & Clark College
Topics Covered: 

This in-class activity can be used to teach structural (or constitutional) isomers. This worksheet presumes that students have already had some experience with transition metal complexes such as determining metal oxidation state, recognizing the coordination sphere, and converting between formulas and structures.

PDF icon structural isomers.pdf245.52 KB
File structural isomers.docx299.75 KB
Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to

  • recognize pairs of ionization, coordination, and linkage isomers
  • describe the difference between ionization, coordination, and linkage isomers
Equipment needs: 


Implementation Notes: 

I developed this short in-class activity this spring to take the place of a lecture on the topic. The students had already spent a couple of days learning about coordination complexes and stereoisomers. I handed out the in-class activity and asked them to work in groups of 2-3.  I circulated to answer questions, and after about 5-10 minutes of work, I brought everyone back together and summarized the categories. I chose not to give them any introduction to structural isomers in the hopes that by working through the activity, the students would develop their own understanding of the types of isomers.

Time Required: 
10-15 minutes
Evaluation Methods: 

I did not require students to turn in their worksheets, but I did circulate to answer questions and confirm their pairings.

Evaluation Results: 

All my groups were able to identify the pairs.  I think learning the labels is harder.

Creative Commons License: 
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