8 Jun 2019

VIPEr Fellows 2019 Workshop Favorites

Submitted by Barbara Reisner, James Madison University

During our first fellows workshop, the first cohort of VIPEr fellows pulled together learning objects that they've used and liked or want to try the next time they teach their inorganic courses.

6 Jun 2019
Evaluation Methods: 

The guided reading questions may be graded using the answer key. 

Evaluation Results: 

These questions have not yet been assigned to students.


Guided reading and in-class discussion questions for "High-Spin Square-Planar Co(II) and Fe(II) Complexes and Reasons for Their Electronic Structure."

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

1.  Bring together ligand field theory and symmetry.

  1. Students should be able to identify symmetry of novel molecules in the literature.

  2. Students should be able to explain d-orbital ordering in a coordination complex using ligand field theory.

  3. Students should be able to identify donor/acceptor properties of previously unseen ligands.

  4. Students should be able to apply your knowledge of electronic transitions to the primary literature.

  5. Students should be able to become more familiar with 4-coordinate geometries.

  6. Students should be able to predict magnetic moments of high-spin and low-spin square-planar complexes.

  7. Students should be able to identify properties of ligands that favor formation of the highly unusual high-spin square planar complexes.

2.  Students should comfortable with reading and understanding primary literature.


Related activities: 
Implementation Notes: 

You do not have to assign all of the guided reading questions at once.  You may consider assigning questions as they pertain to where you are in your inorganic chemistry class.

Time Required: 
this has not been used yet for in-class discussion.
28 Jan 2019
Evaluation Methods: 

A portion of their grade (20%) is dedicated to literature discussions (4-6 over the course of the semester). The grading rubric involves 3 possible ratings for each question/answer: “excellent”, “acceptable”, or “needs work”.

Concepts covered during literature discussions will be included among exam materials.

Evaluation Results: 



This Guided Literature Discussion was assigned as a course project, and is the result of work originated by students Christopher Lasterand Patrick Wilson.  It is based on the article “Deca-Arylsamarocene: An Unusually Inert Sm(II) Sandwich Complex” by Niels J. C. van Velzen and Sjoerd Harder in Organometallics 201837, 2263−2271. It includes a Reading Guide that will direct students to specific sections of the paper that were emphasized in the discussion.  This article presents a study of the reactivity of bulky CpAr-Et/iPrSm complexes that is contrasted to the more well-known Cp*2Sm.

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

After reading and discussing this article, a student should be able to…

-      Be more familiar with the chemistry of sandwich samarocene complexes.

-      Understand how bulky ligands affect structure and reactivity in a sandwich complex.

-      Apply the CBC method to identify ligand functions and metal valence number/ligand bond number.

-       Understand how XRD bond distances can help determine a ligand charge.

Implementation Notes: 

I am planning on assigning this LO as a graded in-class group discussion. Students will be given a copy of the article, reading guide, and discussion questions one week in advance. On the day of the discussion, students will be assigned in groups of 2-3. They will then have one lecture period to answer the questions in writing as a group.  [This article is among the free-access ACS Editors’ Choice.]

Time Required: 
1 lecture period, with materials given one week in advance


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