Physical Chemistry: Quantum Mechanics

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.

1 Mar 2017

Reactivity and Bonding of Complexes with Metal-Metal Bonds

Submitted by S. Chantal E. Stieber, Cal Poly Pomona
Evaluation Methods: 

Evaluation was conducted by the instructor walking around the classroom and addressing individual problems students had.

Evaluation Results: 

From classroom observations, most students were able to properly count electrons and oxidation states for the metals in the complexes and rationalize the ligand coordination modes. Here, the main source of confusion was how to account for the Z-type Co-Zr interaction. The MO diagrams generated the most discussion and were the most difficult part for students (as was expected). The reactivity was also initially conceptually difficult for students, but once they realized how to treat the M-M bonded system, students were able to apply fundamental organometallic reactions to the system. Many students forgot what they had learned about magnetic moments in the previous quarter, but figured it out and were excited to apply knowledge from the previous course. 


This problem set was designed to be an in-class activity for students to practice applying their knowledge of metal-metal bonding (as discussed in the previous lecture) to recently published complexes in the literature. In this activity, complexes from four papers by Christine M. Thomas and coworkers are examined to give students practice in electron counting (CBC method), drawing molecular orbitals, and fundamental organometallic reactions.

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

Following the activity, a student should be able to:

·      Determine electron counts and oxidation states of complexes with M-M bonds using CBC electron counting method

·      Draw molecular orbital diagrams for M-M bonds

·      Determine M-M bond order

·      Propose mechanisms for reactions at M-M centers

·      Apply fundamental inorganic chemistry to reports in the literature

Implementation Notes: 

This was implemented in the second quarter of advanced inorganic chemistry (4th year level) before the second midterm as an in-class group activity. The worksheet generated a lot of interest from the students and generated good discussions in a class of 23 students. In the previous lecture, we discussed basic metal-metal bonding, including drawing MO diagrams and determining bond order for homobimetallic complexes. This worksheet was a reasonable extension, requiring students to apply this knowledge to more complicated systems.

Time Required: 
65 min
27 Jun 2016

Student Oral Presentations of a Communication from the Primary Literature

Submitted by Carmen Works, Sonoma State University
Evaluation Methods: 

see rubric that is attached 


In the humanities it is common practice to read a piece of literature and discuss it.  This is also practiced in science and is the purpose of this exercise.  Each student is assigned a communication from the current  literature (inorganic, JACS, organometallics, J. Phys. Chem) and the student presents this paper to the class.  The class will also have the opportunity to read the article prior to the presentation, and I post each paper on my LMS page.  The presenter will be responsible for explaining the paper, and leading a critical discussion.  This is not an easy assignment since these papers are filled with chemical jargon, but an important part of their chemical education is to be able to tackle the literature.  In addition a lot of this jargon is covered during the semester.



Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

·      Students will learn to read a paper from the primary literature

·      Students will learn to present the a paper from the primary literature

·      Students will learn to create a group discussion

·      Students will learn how to relate chemical jargon learned throughout the four years of chemistry to the literature

·      Students will learn how to answer exam questions from the primary literature


Implementation Notes: 

I hand out selected communications during the second week of class.  Students are allowed to swap papers. They have the entire semester to read the paper and prepare a talk but the talks are during the last 3 weeks of class.  Each student is give 25 min to present their paper to the class.  The assignment is graded using the attached rubric and is worth 15% of their final grade.  I selected about 7 exam questions for the final exam and ask students to answer 5 of these questions.  I try to structure the questions so that they don't have to "know" every paper.  I have attached an example of such a question.  


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