Submitted by Adam Johnson / Harvey Mudd College on Tue, 05/19/2020 - 18:16
My Notes

This guided inquiry activity takes students through the process of constructing an MO diagram for square planar methane. LGOs are constructed using a graphical approach. Students are guided through a process that allows them to use their MO diagram to make a claim about chemical properties.

Attachment Size
guided inquiry in pdf format 105.45 KB
guided inquiry in word format 22.89 KB
Learning Goals

Students will derive the LGOs for methane in the D4h point group.

Students will derive the MO diagram for methane in the D4h point group.

Equipment needs


Implementation Notes

This would come after spending several class periods developing LGOs for polyatomics.

I use this method (though not this detailed worksheet) every year in class. I have students divide up into teams and work together at the chalkboard on molecules like borane, methane, water, SF4, and others. I circulate through the class and correct their diagrams in real time. Then at the end, each team presents their MO diagram and its major features.

Time Required
30 minutes


Evaluation Methods

Since this is done in class, it is not graded. Since I correct their mistakes in real time, the final MO diagram is usualy almost perfect.

Evaluation Results

Students often want to have the electrons in the LGOs 'ride over' on the non-bonding MO instead of falling down to the lowest energy bonding MO. After pointing it out several times in class, students are generally better at using the aufbau principle.

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA