Bioinorganic chemistry

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.


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.

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

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

Time Required: 
1 hour
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.



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.

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
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.


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