No Prerequisites

20 Jun 2009
Description: 

All VIPEr learning objects are supposed to include clear student learning goals and a suggested way to assess the learning. This "five slides about" provides a brief introduction to the "Understanding by Design" or "backward design" approach to curriculum development and will help you develop your VIPEr learning object.

Prerequisites: 
Course Level: 
Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

Faculty will

  • understand the "backward design" concept
  • learn to write learning outcomes and assessments using the verbs ("activities") and "products" provided
  • learn how a rubric can be used to discriminate students' levels of achievement
Implementation Notes: 

These slides are a quick and dirty summary of a longer hands-on faculty development workshop I do. They provide an introduction to the Understanding by Design process, help in writing learning goals, suggestions for developing assessments of student learning, and helpful hints for preparing a VIPEr learning object.

Time Required: 
15 minutes to read the slides; a lifetime to practice the skill :)
Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

I hope that faculty will use these slides to aid their writing of learning goals and assessments for the VIPEr site.

7 Aug 2018
Description: 

Rules for quantum numbers are confusing but not arbitrary.  They are based on wave mathmatics, and once laid out properly are symmetric and beautiful.  Within four animation-clicks of the first slide of this PowerPoint Presentation, this beauty will unfold.  I do not exaggerate to say, faculty members will be agape and students will say, "Why didn't you show us this before."  No other presentation shows in as elegant a way the relationship between 1)  n, l and ml, 2) the ordering of orbitals in hydrogen-like atoms, and 3) the ordering of orbitals in the periodic table (along with the difficulty of assigning orbital filling in transition and f-block elements).  

Beauty is in every atom.  Let it loose.

Topics Covered: 
Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

A student will be able to relate the quantum numbers n, l and ml to each other.

A student will be able to correctly describe the number of subshells and number of orbitals in a shell.

A student will be able to describe the orbital energies in a hydrogen-like atom.

A student will be able to order subshells in a multi-electron system and relate this to the periodic table.

A student will realize the symmetry and beauty of quantum chemistry without ever seeing the shape of one orbtal.  

Implementation Notes: 

In the first two slides, often use the phrase "because it's a square."

This is useful for Inorganic Chemistry students as well because it will cement in their mind long lost rules of quantum numbers.

 

Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

1) Short answer quiz questions

2) Multiple choice questions on hour and final exams.

3) Awe.

Evaluation Results: 

1) From a quiz killer to a typical A, B, C student gets it right, the D student is still a bit confused and the F student still misses the idea.

2)  On a question asking, "how many orbitals in the n=3 shell", the results increased from the 40's to 80's %.  

3) As jaws dropped, quarters could be slipped into their mouths.  Faculty pulled out phones to take pictures of a white-board version before I told them I had a PowerPoint version.

26 Jul 2018

General Chemistry Collection for New Faculty

Submitted by Kari Stone, Benedictine University

VIPEr to the rescue!

The first year as a faculty member is extremely stressful and getting through each class day to day is a challenge. This collection was developed with new faculty teaching general chemistry in mind pulling together resources on the VIPEr site to refer back to as the semester drags along. There are some nice in-class activities, lab experiments, literature discussions, and problem sets for use in the general chemistry course. There are also some nice videos and graphics that could be used to spark interest in your students.

Subdiscipline: 
Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
19 Jul 2018

Teaching Forum Posts for New Faculty

Submitted by Shirley Lin, United States Naval Academy
Evaluation Methods: 

Not applicable.

Evaluation Results: 

Not applicable.

Description: 

This web resource is a diverse list of VIPEr forum topics about teaching that may be of interest to new faculty assigned to teach general chemistry for the first time. It was created as part of a larger collection to help new faculty get started in the classroom.

Prerequisites: 
Subdiscipline: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

There are no specific learning goals since this web resource is for faculty to become familiar with some of the topics that have been discussed in the teaching forum on VIPEr. 

Implementation Notes: 

Not applicable.

Time Required: 
If a faculty member reads through all the forum topics, this could take an hour.
18 Apr 2018

A use for organic textbooks

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College
Description: 

This morning before class I was picking on one of my students for having her organic chemistry textbook out on her desk. I believe I said something along the lines of 'how dare you contaminate my classroom with that!' She explained how she had an exam today and I let it drop. That is until later in the class when I was teaching about chelates. I had a sudden inspiration. I asked the student to pick up her organic book with one hand. I then warned her that I was going to smack the book. I did and she dropped it. Based on the size of most organic textbooks, I believe that very few people would be able to hold on to one with one hand while it is being smacked. I then handed her back the book and asked her to hold it with two hands while I smacked it. Sure enough, she was able to maintain her grasp of the book. I think this rather simple deomonstration did a surprisingly good job of driving home the point.

Learning Goals: 

From this in-class activity students will develop a simple appreciation for the chelate effect.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Course Level: 
Equipment needs: 

Organic (or p-chem) textbook

26 Mar 2018

Identifying Isomers

Submitted by Anne Bentley, Lewis & Clark College
Evaluation Methods: 

I did not require students to turn in their worksheets, but I did circulate to answer questions and confirm their pairings.

Evaluation Results: 

All my groups were able to identify the pairs.  I think learning the labels is harder.

Description: 

This in-class activity can be used to teach structural (or constitutional) isomers. This worksheet presumes that students have already had some experience with transition metal complexes such as determining metal oxidation state, recognizing the coordination sphere, and converting between formulas and structures.

Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to

  • recognize pairs of ionization, coordination, and linkage isomers
  • describe the difference between ionization, coordination, and linkage isomers
Subdiscipline: 
Equipment needs: 

none

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Implementation Notes: 

I developed this short in-class activity this spring to take the place of a lecture on the topic. The students had already spent a couple of days learning about coordination complexes and stereoisomers. I handed out the in-class activity and asked them to work in groups of 2-3.  I circulated to answer questions, and after about 5-10 minutes of work, I brought everyone back together and summarized the categories. I chose not to give them any introduction to structural isomers in the hopes that by working through the activity, the students would develop their own understanding of the types of isomers.

Time Required: 
10-15 minutes
22 Jan 2018

Streamlining Lab Report Grading: Errors Checklists

Submitted by Sabrina G. Sobel, Hofstra University
Evaluation Methods: 

Errors Checklists are most effective when you list the most common errors with explanations. You will see if you are successful if you use the items on the checklist repeatedly in your grading. Students will better understand their grades because of the clear communication of their errors. You should see a reduction of student inquiries as to why a certain grade was assigned on lab work.

Evaluation Results: 

My students really appreciate the errors checklists because my expectations and my grading choices are made clear. I have found that the formulation of Errors Checklists cause me to focus on and articulate the most common students errors; I subsequently pay more attention to the items in my pre-lab lectures, and student misunderstanding has decreased.

Description: 

I present a format for more effective communiction of errors in lab reports to students that I term Errors Checklists. Grading lab reports are one of the banes of our existence as professors. They are endless, unremitting papers that need to be scrutinized for accuracy, precision and understanding. Instead of tearing your hair out at the fifteenth report in which the student failed to use to proper number of significant figures, or failed to produce a readable graph, why not just breezily check a box on your Errors Checklist (in which you have provided a complete and thoughtful explanation), and staple to the student report?

I have created and used Errors Checklists for General Chemistry and Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry lab classes for almost two decades. I have passed them on to junior colleagues in my department, which they have modified to suit their needs. Errors Checklists lower my anxiety and anger when grading multiple lab reports, and provide clearer communication with students.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Learning Goals: 

1. More effective communication of student errors on lab reports.

2. Streamline lab report grading to enable quick turnaround to students.

3. Better communicate expectations on lab reports to enable students to improve performance during the semester.

Equipment needs: 

None.

Implementation Notes: 

You need to develop your own Errors Checklists customized for the experiments in your curriculum. A template is provided. I have included two example checklists; the first is for a Chemical Kinetics lab in which students determine the orders WRT iodide and peroxide for the iodine clock reaction. The second is for the synthesis of potassium alum from aluminum foil, with supplemental analysis of the unit cell (available online).

Time Required: 
not applicable
12 Jan 2018

Geometry Indices

Submitted by Anthony L. Fernandez, Merrimack College
Description: 

In the primary literature, goemetry indices are being used quite often to describe four- and five-coordinate structures adopted by transition metal complexes. This slide deck, which is longer than the intended 5 slides, describes the three common geometry indices (tau4, tau4', and tau5) and provides example calculations for structures that are freely available in the Teaching Subset of the Cambridge Structural Database. (Students can access these structures in Mercury, which is freely available from the CCDC, or via a web request form for which the link is provided below.)

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After viewing this presentation, students should be able to:

  • recall the common geometries adopted by transition metal centers in four- and five-coordinate structures,
  • describe the limiting geometries for each CN,
  • recall the formulas for the three geometry indices (tau4, tau4', and tau5),
  • calculate the value of the appropriate geometry index for a given structure, and
  • identify the geometry exhibited by a TM center.
Implementation Notes: 

I have found that this presentation can be used effectively in one of several ways:

  • the presentation is given in class and then students complete an exercise in which they calculate the geometry indices for a number of transition metal complexes before the leave class,
  • the presentation is given in class and then students complete an exercise in which they calculate the geometry indices for a number of transition metal complexes outside of class (as homework), or
  • the presentation is provided to them as a PDF file as part of the pre-class assignment and then students complete an exercise in which they calculate the geometry indices for a number of transition metal complexes when they are in class.
Time Required: 
20-30 minutes
Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

I use these slides to introduce the concept of geometry indices in class. Since this is a presentation, I do no formal evaluation of the impact of these slides on student learning. 

I do ask students to complete several exercises in which they calculate the geometry indices for a number of transition metal complexes. 

Evaluation Results: 

Over several years, I have observed that students very rarely have trouble completing the assigned exercises correctly after viewing this presentation.

19 Dec 2017

Visual scaffold for stoichiometry

Submitted by Margaret Scheuermann, Western Washington University
Description: 

These five slides are intended to share a visual scaffolding that I developed to help my general chemistry students identify what calculations are needed to solve stoichiometry problems.

 

The visual scaffold involves writing the balanced equation and then under it drawing a table with two rows and enough columns so that there is one column under each reagent in the equation. The top row is labeled as "moles" and the bottom row is labeled as "measurable quantity". Students then write in any information about a specific reagent or product that was given and identify the quantity that the question is asking them to find. They then add a series of arrows to the table to generate a "map" of how to get from the information they are given to the information they need to find with each arrow representating a type of calculation that they have already seen and practiced. Vertical arrows represent a calculation between a measured quantity and a number of moles. Horizontal arrows in the top row represent calculations between moles of one substance and moles of another substance. Horziontal arrows in the "measured quantity" row are not allowed since those unit conversion factors are not readily available. 

 

Corequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Prerequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to determine the quantity of a reagent required or the quantity of a product produced in a reaction.

Subdiscipline: 
Related activities: 
Implementation Notes: 

The scaffolding begins with a review of the two types of calculations that are required for basic stoichiometry: converting between grams and moles, and converting between moles of one substance and moles of another substance using the coefficients of a balanced equation as unit conversion factors (slide 1).

Some ABCD card/clicker questions can be added here if students have not practiced these types of problems in class recently.

After introducing the visual scaffold (slide 2) I do an example problem or two on the board/overhead/doc cam (slide 3).

This is a good point to give students an opportunity to work on a practice problem or if the introduction to stoichiometry began part way through a class period, an exit question.

Next I introduce situations where it could take more than one calculation to get from the measured quantity to moles (slide 4). 

An example problem and/or practice problem and/or exit question can be added here.

The visual scaffold is also relevant for limiting reagent problems. I've included an example (slide 5/6) but limiting reagent is usually presented in a subsequent class period after some examples of the limiting reagent concept using sandwiches or something similar. 

Time Required: 
30-50 minutes. varies with the number of examples and practice problems
Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

I will usually do an exit question- a stoichiometry problem from the textbook- after either slide 3 or slide 4. I do not require students to use the visual scaffold if they are already comfortable with stoichiometry from a previous class but many choose to use it. Some students will include the tables from the visual scaffold as part of the work they show on exams, again without being prompted or required to do so. 

3 Jun 2017

Literature Discussion of "A stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure"

Submitted by Katherine Nicole Crowder, University of Mary Washington
Evaluation Methods: 

Students could be evaluated based on their participation in the in-class discussion or on their submitted written answers to assigned questions.

Evaluation Results: 

This LO has not been used in a class at this point. Evaluation results will be uploaded as it is used (by Spring 2018 at the latest).

Description: 

This paper describes the synthesis of a stable compound of sodium and helium at very high pressures. The paper uses computational methods to predict likely compounds with helium, then describe a synthetic protocol to make the thermodynamically favored Na2He compound. The compound has a fluorite structure and is an electride with the delocalization of 2e- into the structure.

This paper would be appropriate after discussion of solid state structures and band theory.

The questions are divided into categories and have a wide range of levels.

Dong, X.; Oganov, A. R.; Goncharov, A. F.; Stavrou, E.; Lobanov, S.; Saleh, G.; Qian, G.-R.; Zhu, Q.; Gatti, C.; Deringer, V. L.; et al. A stable compound of helium and sodium at high pressure. Nature Chemistry 2017, 9 (5), 440–445 DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2716.

Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After reading and discussing this paper, students will be able to

  • Describe the solid state structure of a novel compound using their knowledge of unit cells and ionic crystals
  • Apply band theory to a specific material
  • Describe how XRD is used to determine solid state structure
  • Describe the bonding in an electride structure
  • Apply periodic trends to compare/explain reactivity
Implementation Notes: 

The questions are divided into categories (comprehensive questions, atomic and molecular properties, solid state structure, electronic structure and other topics) that may or may not be appropriate for your class. To cover all of the questions, you will probably need at least two class periods. Adapt the assignment as you see fit.

CrystalMaker software can be used to visualize the compound. ICE model kits can also be used to build the compound using the template for a Heusler alloy.

Time Required: 
2 class periods

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