Upper Division

19 Mar 2020

Online Seminar Talks

Submitted by Amanda Reig, Ursinus College
Evaluation Methods: 

Student summaries are simply graded as complete/incomplete and are checked to see that they did in fact watch the video. If student summaries are felt to be lacking substance or incomplete, we will indicate areas they can improve on future summary reports.

Description: 

In an attempt to find a substitute for our chemistry seminar program, I have found a number of YouTube videos of chemists giving seminar lectures, mostly between 2017-2020. The topics span a range of chemistry disciplines, and are all around 1 hour in length (typical seminar length).  I have not watched them, so I cannot vouch for video quality. Feel free to add additional links in the comments below if you know of or find any great talks.

We will ask students to select and watch a certain number of lectures from the list and then write and submit a one-page summary of the talk.

Prerequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to summarize the key points of a lecture presented by a seminar speaker.

Corequisites: 
Time Required: 
1 hour
14 Mar 2020

Solid State Structures tutorial

Submitted by Terrie Salupo-Bryant, Manchester University
Evaluation Methods: 

I grade the Solid State Structures tutorial answer sheet (44pts) in conjunction with the Problem Set to Accompany the Solid State Structures tutorial (26 pts) that incorporates concepts from the tutorial.

Evaluation Results: 

The average score (n=32) is 60pts out of 70 (86%).  Scores on the Problem Set tend to be about 5 percentage points higher than on the tutorial.  Students usually spend some time calculating the length of the unit cell edge, a, in terms of the radius (r) of an ion/atom for each of the basic unit cells.  Commonly they substitute diameter for radius or make errors in their trigonometry (see doi.org/10.1021/ed400367x  for derivation).  They also have difficulty seeing an empty hole which causes their percentage of filled octahedral and tetrahedral holes to be incorrect.  I added Figures 6 and 7 for fcc in order to help students in the future know where to look for the holes.  Visualizing 3D structures can be a challenge even to visual learners.  The average score indicates that manipulating structures on the computer makes them more tangible to students.  Wrestling with the questions is often a group effort and an opportunity for students to explain their thinking to others.

Description: 

This tutorial will introduce students to some of the three-dimensional crystal structures exhibited by ionic and metallic solids.  They will examine the simple cubic, body-centered cubic, face-centered cubic, and the hexagonal closest-packed systems.  To facilitate visualization of the structures at the atomic level, they will use the Crystal Explorer website at Purdue University.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After completing this tutorial, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe basic crystal structures from their unit cells.
  • Describe the relationship between crystal packing and unit cell.
  • Determine whether atoms/ions in a crystal structure are closest packed.
  • Locate tetrahedral, octahedral, and cubic holes in a unit cell.
  • Apply geometric relationships to determine the length of a unit cell edge in terms of the radii of its atoms/ions.
  • Determine the coordination number of an atom/ion in a crystal structure.
Implementation Notes: 

The Crystal Explorer website is a free resource that contains all of the images needed to complete this tutorial.

When I teach my foundations-level inorganic chemistry class, I have students use Ludwig Mayer’s Solid State Structures JCE Software to complete this tutorial; however, the software is no longer commercially available.  It utilizes the PCMolecule application which I am still able to access on newer computers by adjusting the compatibility settings.  The images in the software use the same color schemes as the structures in the Solid State Model Kit.  See Teacher Notes for further information. I don’t have students use the model kits, though I do assemble one or two structures for them refer to if they need. 

Students can complete the tutorial in one lab session or in multiple lecture sessions.  I currently use one lecture session to get them started and have them complete it outside of class as a homework assignment.

Time Required: 
2.5 hours (longer if using the Solid State Model Kit)
12 Mar 2020

iPad Screen Recording

Submitted by Anthony L. Fernandez, Merrimack College
Evaluation Methods: 

I do not assess their performance on creating the videos. The fact that they are able to submit the videos to me successfully is evidence that they have followed the instructions.

I have students peer-review videos created by other students. They are asked to provide feedback on the content and correctness of the video, as well as the quality of the presentation.

Evaluation Results: 

Students and faculty usually have little trouble following these instructions. The most common errors are listed below.

  • The video creator forgets to turn on the audio recording before beginning the screen recording process.
    • If this happens, the video must be re-recorded with the microphone on or the audio must be added using another program, such as iMovie.
  • The video cannot be edited to remove the "dead time" at the beginning and end of the video.
    • The iPad screen is very touchy and it can be hard to get the video selected and highlighted. It takes a bit of practice.
  • The video creator exports a video without sound.
    • This means that the iPad is running an older version of the iOS and the other set of instructions must be followed.
Description: 

Many faculty and students now have iPads and Apple Pencils for use in their classes. At Merrimack, we have a 1:1 iPad program (called Mobile Merrimack) in which all students and faculty are provided an iPad and students are also given an Apple Pencil and a keyboard. (Departments must purchase Apple Pencils for faculty members.) My department has leveraged this initiative in many ways and the iPad has been incorporated into the general chemistry and organic chemistry sequences, and into many of our upper-level courses.

The iPad is a really great tool for creating educational videos for classes, especially when paired with an Apple Pencil to facilitate writing on the screen in a very natural manner. It is very easy to create videos on your iPad using the Screen Recording Feature that is part of recent version of the iOS. When the Screen Recording is activated, anything shown on the iPad screen is captured to video and audio can be recorded using the built-in microphone or any connected microphone. My go-to iPad app for handwriting is Notability and I use the screen recording function to capture my writing and audio. Any app that you prefer can be used. (I have attached two videos as examples - one with audio and one without audio.)

My colleagues and I use the iPad to create videos that we distribute to our classes via our LMS (Blackboard or Google Classroom). I have also given my students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of topics and concepts by creating narrated videos on their iPad and submitting them to me for credit (or for extra credit when revising exams). The linked instructions are those that I provide to my students and colleagues so that they can create videos on their own.

I have tried to keep these up to date with the changes in the operating system and I would appreciate any feedback that you have on these instructions. There are two versions of the instructions linked to this LO: one for current version (13) of the iOS and one for older versions of the iOS. I would also be happy to add any other information that you feel is necessary as you work through the recording process.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any help.

Topics Covered: 
Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After reading these instructions, a student or faculty member should be able to:

  • start the screen recording function on an iPad,
  • record a video that captures the iPad screen along with audio from a microphone,
  • save the video in their photo stream,
  • edit out the portions at the beginning and end of the video, and
  • export the video to a cloud service for sharing with others.
Implementation Notes: 

There are many ways to create videos on the iPad and some of those involve apps that cost money to purchase. This method for recording videos takes advantage of functionality built into iOS and will record anything shown on the iPad screen.

As mentioned in the description, I use this method to create videos for my students. I also provide these instructions to my students so that they can create videos that they can submit to me. 

Time Required: 
variable; depends on the length of the video
17 Jan 2020

Formal oxidation states in Ru-catalyzed water oxidation

Submitted by Margaret Scheuermann, Western Washington University
Evaluation Methods: 

I did not grade this activity.

Evaluation Results: 

Three students out of 14 explicitly mentioned that this activity was helpful on the free response section of the course evaluations.

Description: 

This LO is an in-class assignment to prepare students for literature readings involving catalytic cycles in which multiple protons and electrons are transferred. Students practice assigning oxidation states to complexes with aquo, oxo, superoxo, and hydroperoxo ligands then use this information to analyze a proposed water oxidation mechanism from the literature.

Students are asked to add in the substrates and products entering and leaving the catalytic cycle. While this is, at its heart, a stoichiometry excercise, it helps calibrate students for the level of attention to detail needed to effectively engage with reading about multi-electron catalytic mechanisms.

Learning Goals: 

After completing this activity:

A student should be able to assign formal oxidation states to monometallic complexes with aquo, oxo, hyrdoperoxo, and superoxo ligands

A student should be able to apply their knowledge of formal oxidation states to the analysis of a proposed mechanism of a catalytic water oxidation reaction

Corequisites: 
Subdiscipline: 
Prerequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

I used this activity during a lab lecture before an inorganic laboratory experiment in which students would be preparing and testing the Ru-based OEC mimic. 

I began the class period with a brief review of L/X type ligands and formal oxidation states. 

Students then worked in groups to complete this activity. 

 

Other implementation options:

While I used this activity as part of a lab lecture it could also be used in a lecture setting or as part of a problem set.

It could also be modified for use as an equation balancing excercise in a majors or honors general chemistry course.

Time Required: 
10-20 minutes
9 Jan 2020

Marvin suite from ChemAxon

Submitted by Anthony L. Fernandez, Merrimack College
Evaluation Methods: 

As my students draw structures, I usually observe them and make suggestions to improve their drawings. 

Evaluation Results: 

While I do no formal assessment of this activity, I have observed that students seem to learn how to use the program fairly quickly and then use it without much difficulty for the rest of the semester.

Description: 

It is important for students to be able to effectively communicate the results of their scientific work. This does not only inlcude written and oral communication, but the creation of appropriate representations of the complexes they have investigated. It is crucial that students learn how to draw molecules using electronic structure drawing programs, but site licenses for structure drawing programs can be prohibitive for some institutions.

Marvin suite is a software package from ChemAxon that is freely avaialble for educational institutions. It contains a structure drawing program (MarvinSketch) and a viewer (MarvinView), as well as tools that allow for the calculation of many molecular and spectroscopic properties of molecules. This is a very useful suite of programs that can be used by all students and faculty at an instituion once an Academic License is obtained.

A set of directions for drawing a coordination complex in MarvinSketch is also included as part of this learning object. These directions will guide the user as they draw the structure of a square-planar coordination complex, trans-[Ni(NCS)2(PMe3)2].

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After following the instructions, students should be able to draw a chemical structure electronically using a chemical structure drawing program.

Once the structure in drawn in the program, a user would then be able to access the many other functions available in the software.

Implementation Notes: 

During the first week of our semester, lab sections are usually not held for courses so that student enrollment issues can be sorted out. In an advanced course such as Inorganic Chemistry, I want to take advantage of every week that I can so I use the first lab meeting time to have students learn how to use several software programs that they wil use over the course of the semester. 

I post the download link and the license file for the software on the course LMS before the lab period and I ask the students to download and install the software. You should make sure that students update their Java installation before installing the Marvin suite. (I also place a link to the Java download site on the course LMS as well, but students tend to ignore it.) Aside from the Java issue, I have found that there are no real issues encountered by students when they install the software. 

When we meet, I ask the students to follow the linked instructions to create a drawing of a coordination complex. Once they complete that successfully, I ask them to draw several other structures. I do not  have any specific structures that I use, but I try to choose complexes with different geometries (octahedral, tetrahedral, square pyramidal, etc.) around the metal center.

The Marvin suite of programs provides the students with a number of useful tools, not just a structure drawing progam. Students use this to calculate or estimate a number of different things, such as the molecular mass, the elemental analysis, a mass spectrum, 1H and 13C NMR, and charge distribution.

To obtain a license file, the faculty member must log into the ChemAxon site and request an Academic License. Once approved, the instituion is allowed to use the software for 2 years and the license can be easily renewed when it expires.

 

Time Required: 
30 minutes
8 Jan 2020
Evaluation Methods: 

I usually grade one student handout per pair and typically have 1 pt per answer on the worksheet, but take the total out of 60 pts (which ends up giving them a couple of free points).  

Evaluation Results: 

Last semester my 17 students had an average of 47 out of 60 on the lab--a bit lower than usual for that lab. The high was a 57 and the low was a 39. There were lots of different individual errors, but errors in identifying which of the first structures were closest packed and errors in % of holes occupied were common. 

Description: 

This first-year laboratory is designed to give students an introduction to basic solid-state structures using both CrystalMaker files and physical models. I think this would work in a foundations level inorganic course as well. It could be used alternatively as an in-class activity or take-home problem set depending on the instructor. It was adapted by me and later, David Harvey, from an original activity that was posted as an educational resource on the CrystalMaker website in the mid 2000s.  

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

Students will be able to

  • articulate how the atoms in a simple cubic, face-centered cubic, and body-centered cubic unit cell are arranged
  • determine the coordination number of particular atoms in a unit cell
  • count the atoms or ions in a unit cell and determine the empirical formula based on that
  • determine the length of a side of a unit cell based on the radius of an atom
  • visualize the holes in different kinds of unit cells and see how ionic solids can be built by putting ions in those holes
  • describe the forces holding different solids together
  • calculate the % of filled and empty space in lattices
  • identify closest packed structures
Equipment needs: 
  • Computer lab (approximately two students per computer) with CrystalMaker installed (it can be the student version if necessary)

and/or

  • Box of pennies
  • Mineral samples of calcite, fluorite, and NaCl (if you want to do the bonus)
Implementation Notes: 

I usually take one day of class to introduce students to CrystalMaker and all of the basic definitions and ideas of this lab before they start working on the stations. Typically I will work through the first station and then part of NaCl to show them some of the main ideas they will be using, asking them to provide answers (which are typically wrong on the first try!). I am typically circulating around answering questions as the students work through the lab. For a lab section of 24 working in 12 pairs, having one set of physical models seems adequate, but particularly at the beginning of the lab it might be helpful to have two sets of the face-centered cubic and body-centered cubic structures. The 12 computer "stations" are arranged in folders inside a Solid State Lab folder on the desktop of the lab computers, so students can just click on the correct folder and correct files as they work their way through the lab.

Time Required: 
3h lab period
18 Oct 2019

Mechanisms of Mn-catalyzed water oxidation reactions

Submitted by Margaret Scheuermann, Western Washington University
Evaluation Methods: 

I did not grade this activity. 

Evaluation Results: 

Three students out of 14 explicitly mentioned that this activity was helpful on the free response section of the course evaluations.

 

Description: 

This LO is an in-class assignment to prepare students for literature readings involving catalytic cycles in which multiple protons and electrons are transferred. Two catalytic mechanisms, a proposed OEC mechanism and the proposed mechanism of a biomimetic OEC complexes are included. The intermediates are drawn including all charges and oxidation states, details which are sometimes omitted in the primary literature but can be helpful to students who are not accustomed to looking at multistep catalytic cycles. Students are then asked to add in the substrates and products entering and leaving the catalytic cycle. While this is, at its heart, a stoichiometry excercise, it helps calibrate students for the level of attention to detail needed to effectively engage with reading about bioinorganic catalytic mechanisms.

Learning Goals: 

After completing this activity:

A student will be able to follow along with each step in  proposed water oxidation mechanims in the literature.

A student will be able to apply their knowledge of stoichiomety to complex catalytic cycles involving electron transfer.

A student will be able to analyze and compare the details of catalytic cycles.

Corequisites: 
Subdiscipline: 
Prerequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

I used this activity during a lab lecture before an inorganic laboratory experiment in which students would be preparing and testing an OEC mimic. The procedure we used was roughly based on a published procedure (J. Chem Ed. 2005, 82, 791) linked in web resources. 

I began the class period with a brief introduction to the chemistry of photosynthesis and where water oxidation and PSII fit in the broader picture. I then introduced the mimic that students would be preparing and the chemistry of the Oxone (R) triple salt. 

Students then worked in groups to complete this activity and discuss their structural and mechanistic observations. After the activity they were encouraged to read the papers referenced in the activity and to think about the evidence that supports the proposed mechanism.

 

Other implementation options:

While I used this activity as part of a lab lecture it could also be used to stimulate a discussion comparing structure/mechanism of biological and biomimetic systems in a lecture setting without the accompaning laboratory work.

This could also be modified for use as an equation balancing excercise in a majors or honors general chemistry course.

Time Required: 
10-20 minutes
9 Oct 2019

2019 Nobel Prize - Li-ion battery LOs

Submitted by Barbara Reisner, James Madison University

Congratulations to the 2019 recipients of the Nobel Prize - John B. Goodenough, M. Stan Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. It's a well deserved honor!

There are several LOs on VIPEr that talk about lithium ion batteries and related systems. The 2019 Nobel is a great opportunity to include something about these batteries in your class.

I hope to see more LOs in the coming weeks so we can bring this chemistry into our classrooms!

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 

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