Coordination chemistry

12 Feb 2019

Advanced ChemDraw (2019 Community Challenge #2)

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

Students were evaluated during class for effort and participation, and the instructor gave immediate tips and feedback. After students submitted the assignment, it was graded for completion and effort.


Evaluation Results: 

Students were allowed to turn in the assignment 2 days later and 22/24 students completed the assignment. The most common errors were slight variances in bond angles and missing colors used in the literature figures. Overall, the quality of the submitted work was impressive, especially for second-year students.


This in-class activity was designed for a Chemical Communications course with second-year students. It is the second part of a two-week segment in which students learn how to use ChemDraw (or similar drawing software to create digital drawings of molecules).

In this activity, students learn advanced techniques to visualize complex organometallic molecules and reaction schemes using ChemDraw. Students are presented with several images and reaction schemes taken directly from the organometallic literature and are tasked with recreating the images using ChemDraw. This gives students direct exposure to current literature, while learning useful skills in chemical visualization.

Learning Goals: 

Students will be able to:

1.    Convey 3-D structure of a molecule in a drawing.

2.    Recreate molecular drawings found in the literature.

3.    Create digital drawings of molecules using ChemDraw.

4.    Create digital drawings of reaction schemes & cycles.

Equipment needs: 

Computer for each student with ChemDraw installed.

Implementation Notes: 

This was implemented in a 24-student course in the week following an introduction to basic ChemDraw use. Students were shown the techniques in lecture format using the attached Powerpoint presentation. After the presentation, students had access to the slides and could refer to them while completing the activity. 

In-class most students were mostly able to complete the worksheet using the powerpoint slides as a guide. However, the instructor also walked around to give individual tips and instruction. 

The total time for the activity and lecture was 1 hour 50 min, but it could be shortened or assigned for homework.

In the section where students are asked to interpret molecular formulas, this is done ignoring ligand abbreviations, such as R groups or simplifications of chelating ligands. This could be left off, however it was a useful way to introduce students to drawing simplifications they may find in the literature. Most students just interpreted the formula based on what was drawn, and some students looked up the original papers to get a more accurate formula (although this takes much more time). 


Time Required: 
60-110 min
31 Jan 2019

This set of slides was made for my Organometallics class based on questions about bridging hydrides and specifically the chromium molecule. I decided to make these slides to answer the questions, and do a DFT calc to show the MO's involved in bonding of the hydride. 


Learning Goals: 

A student will be able to explain bridging hydride bonding

A student will be able to perform electron counting on a chromium comples with a bridging hydride

A student will be able to interepret calculated DFT molecular orbitals. 

Time Required: 
15 min
Evaluation Methods: 

This was provided as supplementary material outside of lecture. 

28 Jan 2019
Evaluation Methods: 

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 Joie Games and Benjamin Melzer.  It is based on the article “Next-Generation Water-Soluble Homogeneous Catalysts for Conversion of Glycerol to Lactic Acid” by Matthew Finn, J. August Ridenour, Jacob Heltzel, Christopher Cahill, and Adelina Voutchkova-Kostal in Organometallics 2018 37 (9), 1400-1409. It includes a Reading Guide that will direct students to specific sections of the paper that were emphasized in the discussion.  This article reports a systematic study of a series of homogeneous catalysts for the conversion of glycerol to lactic acid.

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

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

-       Apply the CBC electron-counting method to homogeneous catalysts.

-       Understand the effect of metal and/or metal oxidation state on catalyst activity.

-       Understand the effect of ligand and/or ligand charge on catalyst activity.

-       Understand the differences between microwave and conventional heating.

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. 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”. [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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