Submitted by Gary L. Guillet / Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus on Wed, 07/08/2020 - 08:19
My Notes

The article from The Journal of the American Chemical Society by M. Kanatzidis et al describes a new ion-exchange material (FJSM-SnS) that shows high selectivity for rare-earth metals (REE) and very fast adsorption kinetics.  A number of techniques are used to characterize the properties of the compound that students may not be very familiar with but the article presents in an accessible way.

This learning object is designed to use the research article to communicate applications of Hard-Soft Acid-Base theory (HSAB), a topic typically covered in a Foundations level inorganic course.  This article could interest students because the general application to recycling of waste rare earth elements (REE) is very clearly laid and the value towards the greater good is readily apparent.  It then describes incely how the researchers designed their solid to have a preference to adsorb REE over many common competing elements like Na(I), Fe(III) and Al(III).  The assignment is reasonably straightforward and could be a good choice if your students have not been exposed to reading the literature extensively.  


Learning Goals

After completing the Pre-Class and In-Class assignments, students will be able to:

  • Articulate the major themes and conclusion of this technical research article
  • Layout the challenges and benefits of efficient REE exchange 
  • Describe the method of adsorption here and how the efficiency of FJSM-SnS compares to related adsorbants
  • Rationalize why the presented solid material has a preference for REE over other elements using HSAB theory.
Implementation Notes

To date we have not used this assignment in class so this is preliminary based off of other literature discussions we have done with our students.

There are two parts to the assignment, A Pre-Class assignment and an In-Class assignment.  The Pre-Class assignment can be emailed or handed out to students with instructions to read the assigned sections of the article and answer the questions.  I prefer to incorporate the questions into our LMS as a quiz.  This LO is designed for students that do not have extensive exposure to the literature  and may be intimidated by it.  This assignment walks through the article trying to get the students to pull out the applications so they have an appreciate for the value of the work before getting down into the details of rate constants and d-spacings.

On the day of the literature discussion I hand out the In-Class assignment to groups of students, I encourage them to bring a device to look over the article in class (it will be posted to the LMS).  I have them navigate through the more technical questions while I move around the room answering questions. I try not to broadcast answers to the room preferring to let each group work their way through the assignment.  My class is usually ~15 students, so 5 groups of 3, making this very manageable.   

The students responses are then collected at the end of class or the beginning of the next class if more time is needed.  One note, there are some more solids leaning questions, you may want to include or remove these depending on what your goals are for the literature discussion.


Time Required
75 minutes
Evaluation Methods

There are three main components in my rubric covering how I assess lit discussions.  There is the Pre-Class assignment, a group participation component, and the responses to the In-Class assignment.  I will tailor the the HSAB theory question around the major themes of this article.  I alert the student to this fact while we are working through the article.  

Evaluation Results

None to date, updates later.  Please post any results in the comments section if you use this LO.

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