Submitted by Shirley Lin / United States Naval Academy on Mon, 08/08/2022 - 14:23
My Notes

This literature discussion was written for a foundation-level inorganic chemistry course to accompany the material on Lewis structures. It utilizes a communication-length article on fluorine azide and fluorine nitrate. The assignment is divided into two parts: a set of questions for students to answer BEFORE they read the communication and then a set of questions that they answer after reading the article.

Learning Goals

Pre-reading assignment questions:

Students will be able to...

  • Draw reasonable Lewis structures, including resonance contributors, starting from the molecular formula of a small molecule
  • Apply VSEPR and Valence Bond Theory to Lewis structures
  • Draw no-bond resonance contributors


Literature discussion questions:

Students will be able to...

  • Describe the authors' motivations for conducting the research described in the article
  • Interpret and evaluate Lewis structures provided in the article
  • Interpret tabulated data on the structure and bond properties of the title compounds
  • Identify methods used by the authors to conduct their study


Implementation Notes

The pre-reading questions do not include the reference to the communication or an answer key since the answers to those questions can be found in the article itself.

Although there is a section on molecular orbitals in the communication, that part is not emphasized given that this assignment was given before the chapter on MO theory.

If desired, an instructor can collect the responses to one or both parts prior to having a small-group or whole-class discussion of the answers.

Time Required
variable, depends upon implementation. The pre-reading assignment may take up to ~1 hour. If students read the article and look at the questions before class, the discussion/group work could fit into a 45-60 minute class period.
Evaluation Methods

Instructors can collect student responses, individually or by group, and assess them for completeness and/or correctness.

Evaluation Results

This LO was implemented in a foundation-level inorganic course in Spring 2022. The responses were not collected by the instructors but students were asked to complete them prior to a class discussion. Anecdotally the questions were at an appropriate level for this assignment being only the second literature discussion completed in the semester.

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


Anne Bentley / Lewis & Clark College

Hi all,

Another great LO from the USNA team!  I looked at the Lewis structures LO - fluorine azide and fluorine nitrate.  I especially liked how many other LOs you found to link to - we do seem to have had a lot of nitrogen chemistry on the site.  (But that's not a bad thing!)
I liked how you structured the assignment with work for students to do before coming to class and then questions to consider in class.  When I worked through the pre-assignment, I found a total of four possible Lewis structures for the FN3 molecule, including the option III from the article plus three others that had a F-N single bond.  Is one of my three other structures not valid?  (They all have 22 electrons and full octets.).   I actually only had those three to start with, since I didn't think a double bond to F would be "ok."  One change to make, if "my" three are valid, would be to ask students to draw four possible Lewis structures in pre-assignment question 1.
Then, with the cyclic structures, I really can only find two possible Lewis structures (where the pre-assignment asks to find three).  There are going to be five bonds, so the double bond can either be between the F and one of the adjacent nitrogens or between two nitrogens.  I know this doesn't end up mattering much, but I'm left a bit confused.  
I think overall, it might be helpful to have an answer key for the pre-assignment, but I know that might be more work for you folks.
One very small suggestion - the first question on the in-class sheet asks about both fluorine azide and fluorine nitrate, so the answer should include both to be consistent.
Ok, I think that's it for now!  I love these Lewis structure LOs, so thanks very much for the new contribution!
Mon, 08/22/2022 - 12:34 Permalink