In this activity, a pair of students are show an object or molecule and are asked to determine the point group before their competitor.
This activity is meant to be a fun way to develop the students ability to rapidly assign point groups to molecules and objects. I wait until a week or two after the symmetry concepts are first shown to students so that they have developed some comfort with identifying symmetry elements and point groups prior to this activity. Students really seem to enjoy the competitive nature of this activity and really get into determining the point groups (even if they are not the person up front at the time). The ground rules that I use for this activity are in the instructor answer key, but they can easily be adapted for groups of different sizes (my Inorganic class usually is between 10-15 students).
1. Students will accurately obtain the point groups of a variety of molecules and objects
2. Students will develop the ability to identify point groups quickly
A printout of the answer key and the objects/molecules that are already cut into individual pieces.
Slips of paper with each students name on it
Point Group flow charts for students (if you choose to give these, the flow chart I use is from the Shriver/Atkins Inorganic Chemistry book)
I assign teams randomly by using the slips of paper to pick teams.
I assign the competitors randomly also from within the team and do not allow anyone to go twice before everyone has gone once.
I choose the molecule or object randomly as well
Other ground rules I use are in the faculty answer key