Submitted by BoB LeSuer / The College at Brockport, SUNY on Sun, 09/01/2013 - 15:35

I'm putting the finishing touches on a web-based activity created to explore isomerization in octahedral complexes.  It is based on the discussion in Miessler, Fischer and Tarr.  I will probably submit the activity to VIPEr in due course, but I was hoping to get a little bit of feedback, especially from those who are not accustomed to using Mathematica.  The activity is written using Mathematica, but you do not need to install or purchase the software to use the activity, as it will run on the free Mathematica plugin that you will be asked to download if you navigate to the website and don't already have it installed.  (see the first link on ).  Specifically, I'm interested in the following:

1. Given the current set of instructions, is the activity easy to use or even intuitive?  

2. A sample activity is provided in the instructions.  Is it usable for your students in the current form?  If not, what needs to be improved?

3. Are there features missing that are either (a) required for you to actually use it or (b) desired in a future version?

...and a shameless plug.  If you happen to be going to Indy, I'll be talking about this and other ways to incorporate mathematica tools into the chemistry curriculum on Wednesday morning, at 9:15, Indiana Ballroom A/B

Kyle Grice / DePaul University

Hi Bob,

I downloaded the wolfram CDF player (I don't have or use mathematica) and looked at the exercise. FYI I don't have a copy of Miessler, Fisher and Tarr with me and haven't read it recently. 

First impression: It's pretty cool!

Answers to your questions:

1) I was a little confused at first, but i picked up the info quickly and the detailed instructions you wrote are very clear.

2) I am not teaching Inorg this quarter, but I think it would be great if the exercises started with just Ma5b and worked its way up. 

3) If you can get the bidentate ligands to work well, that would be great. You say that they don't work well in your instruction

I think you are onto something here. It is already a good tool for teaching chirality. With a little refinement, it can be a great tool. 

Unfortunetaly I won't be in ACS Indy, but I hope to see you at future conferences!



Tue, 09/03/2013 - 22:23 Permalink
BoB LeSuer / The College at Brockport, SUNY

Thanks for looking in to the tool, Kyle.  I'll consider developing a more guided inquiry lesson starting with simpler ligand configurations.

The bidentate ligand setup is still under construction but I left it in there because it can be useful in some circumstances.  Setting, for example, <AB><AC><BC> you can rotate the molecule to show the procedure for determining handedness, and then click on the reflection button to show that the reflection has the opposite handedness.  With the current version of the tool, I wouldn't let students try to do this on their own because the controls are not set up to facilitate this type of viewing very easily.  Hopefully version 2 will be an improvement in this area.


Wed, 09/04/2013 - 11:47 Permalink