Upper Division

26 Mar 2008

Housecroft and Sharpe: Inorganic Chemistry, 3ed

Submitted by Lori Watson, Earlham College
Description: 

Housecroft and Sharpe (Inorganic Chemistry, 3ed): This is a comprehensive inorganic textbook designed primarily for students at the Junior/Senior level. P-Chem would not be needed as a prerequisite for this text, but would be helpful. It includes both theoretical and descriptive material along with special topics, enough for a two semester course though it is easily adaptable to a one-semester "advanced inorganic" course by choosing only some topics. It is written in a clear and generally readable style and the full-color graphic contribute to student understanding. Ancillaries include electronic versions of most figures, and a student site with a limited number of multiple choice review questions for each chapter. The 3rd edition updates the end-of -the-chapter problems, though disappointingly does not draw problems from the recent literature. In general, these are good review problems to make sure students understand the basic concepts, but some faculty will want to supplement student assignments with more challenging problems. The list price for the student text is $175 for a paperback, 1098p version.

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
9 Mar 2008
Description: 
This is a literature discussion assignment which asks students to read and write responses to some guided questions.  This is then followed by an in-class discussion loosely based on the questions provided.  This particular article investigates the synthesis and structural characteristics of a calcium carbene.  Within the context of the journal article, I ask students to review MO diagrams and interpret X-ray data.  I also introduced computational methods in the context of inorganic chemistry using this paper.
Course Level: 
Prerequisites: 
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Subdiscipline: 
Time Required: 
2-3 hours for students beforehand; 50 minutes in class
9 Mar 2008
Evaluation Methods: 

Take home writing assignment and in-class discussion.

Evaluation Results: 

Students found the kinetics a bit difficult to follow, but "got it" after we went over it in class. They picked up on the catalytic cycle right away and came away with some good "suggestions" for future work.

Description: 

This is a literature discussion assignment in which students read a paper, come up with their own answers to the provided questions (and submit them).  This is followed by a general in-class discussion on the paper.  This particular article deals with hydrosilyation of carbonyl compounds by a Re catalyst and describes the mechanism and kinetics in detail.  I found it a good paper to help students connect their P-chem (and inorganic) kinetics with a "real" system.  As part of the literature assignment, I also ask students to draw an MO diagram of a simple substrate (for review).

Subdiscipline: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

Upon completing this LO students should be able to:

  1. read and extract information from a primary literature article
  2. develop the MO diagram for SiHCl3 using a fragment orbital approach
  3. interpret X-ray crystallographic data to explain bond distances and angles
  4. analyze kinetics data to understand reaction order and kinetic isotope effect for stoichiometric and catalytic reactions
  5. understand and explain how a reaction can be irreversible yet have labile ligands
     
Implementation Notes: 

Students who are currently enrolled in Thermodynamics and Kinetics may need to be paired with a student who has previously completed the course

Time Required: 
2-3 hours writing for students; 50 minutes in-class (could be shorter)
27 Jan 2008

Nobel Prizes

Submitted by Maggie Geselbracht, Reed College
Evaluation Methods: 

I usually do not assess this in any formal way.

Evaluation Results: 

When I ask my 2nd year students to name any Nobel Prizes they know of that deal with inorganic chemistry, typically nobody can think of any Nobel Prizes, except maybe Marie Curie.

Description: 

This is a list of Nobel Prizes that in my opinion were either in Inorganic Chemistry or in an area that has impacted Inorganic Chemistry.  I pass this out to students on the first day of class when we are talking very generally about what inorganic chemistry is all about.  This could be extended into a longer discussion at this point or at a later point on one or more of the prizes.  For example, later in the semester I have them read the Nobel Prize address of Alfred Werner.  This helps to inform their lab work and introduces coordination chemistry, which we have not yet discussed in lecture.

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Topics Covered: 
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Time Required: 
Less than one class period
4 Jan 2008

Two Communications on Bioinorganic and Coordination Chemistry

Submitted by Hilary Eppley, DePauw University
Evaluation Methods: 
Could either grade participation in an in class discussion or collect the answers and grade them.
Evaluation Results: 
For this assignment, I like to break up a reasonably sized class into two groups, focusing their attention on one of the communications, but reading both of them. You could have the students complete the questions for one or both of the papers.
Description: 
This assignment would make a good choice for a first attempt at actually having a discussion on primary literature articles since these are two short communications. They also touch on two important applications of coordination chemistry so might be appropriate early in a course, namely modeling biological systems and non-linear optical applications.
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Time Required: 
2 h
4 Jan 2008

student choice experiment

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College
Evaluation Methods: 
I typically have this assignment as one of 6 to 7 lab experiments that take place during the semester.  I grade on purity, yield, the proposal written by the student, and quality of presentation (when done).
Description: 

The students prepare a short proposal outlining their desired target and why they want to make it.  Chemicals are ordered, and during the last 3-4 weeks of the semester, the students carry out their synthesis.  The writeup is as a paper submtited to the journal Inorganic Chemistry using the template from the journal web page.

This is a favorite lab at HMC.  I increased the length of the experiment to 4 weeks from 2 weeks during 2007, allowing more time for exploration, optimization, and characterization of their products.  Past targets have inlucded Wilkinson’s catalyst, ionic liquids, Zr(ebthi)Cl2 (challenging), siloxane polymers (difficult to characterize).

 I highly recommend that students submit proposed syntheses early to get them approved.  The students are often either way too ambitious, or too tentative and want to make some simple thing from another lab manual.  I like them to do two linear steps (more for stronger students.)


Course Level: 
Prerequisites: 
Equipment needs: 
varies widely!
Implementation Notes: 
The lab is chaos.  Hire a TA for this experiment.  Students are running you ragged for the first 2 weeks in the lab, but it is a lot of fun. 
Time Required: 
3-4 weeks, more if student presentations are included
4 Jan 2008

Generating LGOs (SALCs)

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College
Evaluation Methods: 

I have weekly in-class problem exercises that emphasize group work and in-class presentation of the answers.  The in-class participation is worth about 10% of the course grade.

Description: 

    After several days of lecturing on the topic of polyatomic molecular orbital diagrams, students break into small groups of 3-4 and form LGO’s that can be used to interact with a central atom to form a Molecular Orbital (MO) diagram.  This assignment is part of a larger 4-5 week unit on MO theory. 

    The first third of my inorganic course is devoted to polyatomic MO theory as it is the basis of modern understanding of bonding, reactivity and spectroscopy.  Generally, even students at the advanced level have not ever formed an MO diagram for a polyatomic compound (MXn;  e.g.  PF5, CCl4,  CoF63-) whether main group or coordination compound.  After lecturing on symmetry and symmetry operations, and a brief review of Lewis theory, Valence Bond theory, and diatomic MO theory, students are shown that interaction of three or more atoms to form a compound is significantly more difficult unless all of the ligand orbitals are taken together as a group.  The LGO’s are derived using an intuitive, symmetry-based approach that does not require linear algebraic techniques (projection operators).  This allows the students to quickly and easily derive LGO’s and thus MO diagrams for complicated molecules and coordination compounds at a “back-of-the-envelope” level of theory suitable for drawing during a seminar or on a cocktail napkin.
    Doing the problems in this way allows me to cover much more complex material that I would not want to ask on a homework assignment.  I circulate through the room answering questions and providing guidance in real time.  The last 15-20 minutes of class are reserved for each group to describe their solution to the problem.

Learning Goals: 

after doing this exercise, a student should be able to:

i)From a predicted molecular geometry, determine the central atom's hybrid orbitals and use them as generator orbitals

ii) Generate the LGOs by taking linear combinations of the ligand bonding orbitals

iii)  assign proper symmetry labels to the LGOs using a character table

iv)  predict the symmetry of lone pairs (if applicable)

Course Level: 
Equipment needs: 

none

Implementation Notes: 

I spend a good deal of time explaining the technique in class (one to two lectures) and do simple examples in class.  This in-class practice session really cements it home for them. One of these days I will post a five-slides-about LO in order to more fully explain the technique.  Please email me if you want additional details on implementation.

Time Required: 
one 50 minute class period
4 Jan 2008

Professional Ethics

Submitted by Lori Watson, Earlham College
Description: 

This is an assignment designed to help students begin to reflect on professional ethics of scientific practice.  I have used this in a freshman and a senior seminar after 2-3 days of discussion of what professional ethics is and how one goes about choosing a course of action in an ethical dilemma.  I use:

The Ethical Chemist : Professionalism and Ethics in Science (Educational Innovation Series) by Jeffrey Kovac
 The Chemist's Code of Conduct: http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_A...

 

Topics Covered: 
Prerequisites: 
Equipment needs: 

None

Corequisites: 
4 Jan 2008

Buchwald/Hartwig amination

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College
Evaluation Methods: 

I would normally grade on purity and yield of the isolated compound, as well as experimental technique, but since we are still optimizing the conditions, I give students the benefit of the doubt.

Description: 

I wanted a modern organometallic experiment showing the utility of Pd for coupling reactions.  Students attempted a variety of reaction conditions during the spring of 2007 and 2008.  Eventually,  we were able to get the reaction to work with a variety of primary amines (linear, cyclohexylamine) and t-butylamine.  Yields are not great (40-80%) and this experiment needs some optimization.  However, products were observed by GC-MS and NMR.

Corequisites: 
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Course Level: 
Prerequisites: 
Subdiscipline: 
Equipment needs: 

This experiment is air-sensitive, but not enormously so.  The most sensitive reagent is the NaOtBu, which could be weighed in air in a pinch.  We use a glove box since we have one.  We store the Pd complexes under N2 after use.

 

Schlenk line, Ar balloons or glove box

Schlenk glassware, standard organic glassware

temperature controlled oil bath or heating mantle and thermometer.

Related activities: 
Implementation Notes: 

I usually turn off the students reactions after 18-24 hours, let them cool down, quench them with ether and store them in the 2-neck flasks until the following week where students work up the reaction and analyze by NMR and GC-MS.  We don't purify the compounds by column chromatography, but that could be added easily.

Time Required: 
1 to 2 3-4 hour lab sessions
4 Jan 2008

Personal Radiation Dose

Submitted by Lori Watson, Earlham College
Evaluation Methods: 

None.<br />

Evaluation Results: 

Students love this exercise. They are quite surpised at the difference of living near a coal vs. a nuclear plant.

Description: 
I mostly use this exercise as a "see, most of your radiation does is NOT from nuclear plants."  I have used this in both General Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry when doing a nuclear chemistry or energy production unit.
Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Equipment needs: 
None
Subdiscipline: 
Implementation Notes: 

Helps if you have some sense of the elevation you live at, and/or the elevation of places that your students came from.

Time Required: 
10 minutes

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