This in-class group activity extends my original post by providing more examples of varying difficulty for students to assign MLXZ classifications and electron counts to organometallic complexes. The answers to these are unambiguous within the CBC system, but they provide excellent starting points for conversation with students about bonding formalisms with organometallics.
* Students should be able to use the covalent bond classification method to assign MLXZ classifications to a variety of organometallic complexes.
* Students should be able to defend their assignments using both organic and inorganic views of structure and bonding.
* Students will understand the ambiguities associated with assigning bond orders, valencies, oxidation states, etc., with the hope that their understanding of covalently bonded organometallic systems will become more nuanced.
I split students into groups of 3, as noted in the handout. Since this was a small class, I used 10 problems (all 7 from this handout and 3 from the earlier activity) and each student presented one answer. Students took about 25 minutes to work through the problems, and then I had the students present and encouraged questions and challenges to their assignments. The students brought several interesting insights that deepened their understanding of bonding and the connection between Organic Chemistry (which they have all taken) and Inorganic/Organometallic Chemistry (which most of them have not seen).
Students were evaluated informally as I walked around to help the groups as well as during presentations.
A large majority of the students had no problem making assignments for the simple and intermediate cases. This outcome is largely a testament to the ease of use of the CBC method. In fact, students who had no background in inorganic or organometallic chemistry tended to perform a little better because they were less likely to bring in preconceptions about "oxidation state".Students struggled a bit with the Z-type Ga ligand, which is great because it helped them move forward in understanding the periodic relationship to Al and B. Students also struggled a bit with the cyclic (alkyl)aminocarbene ligands in the cobalt dimer, since they had not seen those before.