25 Jun 2018

Orbital Overlap and Interactions

In-Class Activity

Submitted by Jocelyn Pineda Lanorio, Illinois College

This is a simple in-class activity that asks students to utilize any of the given available online orbital viewers to help them identify atomic orbital overlap and interactions. 

File Orbital Overlap and Interactions.docx23.75 KB
Learning Goals: 

Following the activity, students will be able to:

  1. draw the s, p, and d atomic orbitals using the given coordinate axes
  2. analyze the orbital interaction by looking at their symmetry and overlap (or lack of)
  3. differentiate s, p, d, and nonbonding molecular orbital


Equipment needs: 

Internet connection and computer

Implementation Notes: 

This activity should be run in a computer lab.

Time Required: 
15 to 20 minutes
Evaluation Methods: 

Evaluation was conducted by the instructor walking around the computer lab to check progress and address the issues students had.

Evaluation Results: 

This LO was implemented once in advanced inorganic chemistry composed of 5 chemistry major students. Students clearly identified the type of orbital interactions and differentiated bonding, nonbonding, and antibonding MOs. Students commented that this is a great in-class activity before the discussion of MOs for diatomic molecules (Chapter 5 of MFT).

Creative Commons License: 
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