Visualization

21 Mar 2020

Ferrocene acylation - The Covid-19 Version

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College
Description: 

This is the classic Chromatography of Ferrocene Derivatives experiment from "Synthesis and Technique in Inorganic Chemistry" 3rd Ed. (1986 pp 157-168) by R. J. Angelici. There are no significant changes from the experiment published in the book so details will not be provided. What is provided are links to some excellent videos showing the experiment and characterization data for students to work with. For the time being this will be a living document. Currently it has 1H, 13C{1H}, COSY, DEPT, HMBC, HSQC IR, UV-Vis, GC-MS and Cyclic Voltammetry raw data files for all compounds for students to work with. It also includes processed 1H, 13C{1H}, COSY, DEPT, HMBC, HSQC, IR, GC-MS and Cyclic Voltammetry data for all compounds. If anyone has any additional means of characterization they would like to include (say Mossbauer) please feel free to contact the author.

Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

A student should get an appreciation for what doing this lab would be like by watching videos. In addition, the student will analyze the data provided and learn about the characterization of ferrocene, acetylferrocene and 1,1'-diacetylferrocene.

Equipment needs: 

Nothing.

The NMR data comes from a Bruker instrument and can be opened with TopSpin, MestReNova and perhaps other programs.

Implementation Notes: 

Like most everyone at this time this is going to be a trial by fire.

19 Mar 2020

Job's Method - The Covid-19 Version

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College
Evaluation Methods: 

Students are generally asked to write a full lab report including an abstract, brief introduction, experimental and results/discussion. I will likely not ask them to do that in this virtual lab. However, they will be asked to determine the value for n for the various [Ni(en)x] solutions as well as questions 1 and 2 from Angelici's book. In addition, I typically ask them to do some literature searching questions, but I am not sure if they will have access to SciFinder so I may have to bypass that or provide them the original papers I have them look at. Links to those papers are included.

Evaluation Results: 

I'll use this in a few weeks and see how it goes.

Description: 

This is the classic Job's Method experiment from "Synthesis and Technique in Inorganic Chemistry" 2nd Ed. (1977 or 1986 pp 108-114) by R. J. Angelici. There are slight changes from the experiment published in the book but they just include running solutions with ethylenediamine mole fractions of 0.67 and 0.75, so details will not be provided. What is provided are a series of pictures and videos showing the experiment being performed. Also included are the raw files of the absorbance spectra in EXCEL. It is not perfect but given the situation many of us are facing at the time this is published, it is better than nothing.Note that this lab was updated on 4/4/2020. The previous data was terrible. New solutions using a fresh bottle of ethylenediamine were prepared. The two solutions mentioned previously were also included. The data is much better. The worked up data has also been included in the instructor only files.

My apologies to my coauthors who spent way too much time looking over the original data set and trying to make sense of it. Their thoughts and insight led to this update. My sincere apologies to anyone else that scuffled over the original data.

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

A student should get an appreciation for what doing this lab would be like by watching videos. In addition, the student will analyze the data provided and determine the species present in solutions containing various mole fractions of ethylenediamine and Ni(II).

Equipment needs: 

Nothing

Implementation Notes: 

Like most everyone at this time this is going to be a trial by fire.

14 Mar 2020

Solid State Structures tutorial

Submitted by Terrie Salupo-Bryant, Manchester University
Evaluation Methods: 

I grade the Solid State Structures tutorial answer sheet (44pts) in conjunction with the Problem Set to Accompany the Solid State Structures tutorial (26 pts) that incorporates concepts from the tutorial.

Evaluation Results: 

The average score (n=32) is 60pts out of 70 (86%).  Scores on the Problem Set tend to be about 5 percentage points higher than on the tutorial.  Students usually spend some time calculating the length of the unit cell edge, a, in terms of the radius (r) of an ion/atom for each of the basic unit cells.  Commonly they substitute diameter for radius or make errors in their trigonometry (see doi.org/10.1021/ed400367x  for derivation).  They also have difficulty seeing an empty hole which causes their percentage of filled octahedral and tetrahedral holes to be incorrect.  I added Figures 6 and 7 for fcc in order to help students in the future know where to look for the holes.  Visualizing 3D structures can be a challenge even to visual learners.  The average score indicates that manipulating structures on the computer makes them more tangible to students.  Wrestling with the questions is often a group effort and an opportunity for students to explain their thinking to others.

Description: 

This tutorial will introduce students to some of the three-dimensional crystal structures exhibited by ionic and metallic solids.  They will examine the simple cubic, body-centered cubic, face-centered cubic, and the hexagonal closest-packed systems.  To facilitate visualization of the structures at the atomic level, they will use the Crystal Explorer website at Purdue University.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After completing this tutorial, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe basic crystal structures from their unit cells.
  • Describe the relationship between crystal packing and unit cell.
  • Determine whether atoms/ions in a crystal structure are closest packed.
  • Locate tetrahedral, octahedral, and cubic holes in a unit cell.
  • Apply geometric relationships to determine the length of a unit cell edge in terms of the radii of its atoms/ions.
  • Determine the coordination number of an atom/ion in a crystal structure.
Implementation Notes: 

The Crystal Explorer website is a free resource that contains all of the images needed to complete this tutorial.

When I teach my foundations-level inorganic chemistry class, I have students use Ludwig Mayer’s Solid State Structures JCE Software to complete this tutorial; however, the software is no longer commercially available.  It utilizes the PCMolecule application which I am still able to access on newer computers by adjusting the compatibility settings.  The images in the software use the same color schemes as the structures in the Solid State Model Kit.  See Teacher Notes for further information. I don’t have students use the model kits, though I do assemble one or two structures for them refer to if they need. 

Students can complete the tutorial in one lab session or in multiple lecture sessions.  I currently use one lecture session to get them started and have them complete it outside of class as a homework assignment.

Time Required: 
2.5 hours (longer if using the Solid State Model Kit)
12 Mar 2020

iPad Screen Recording

Submitted by Anthony L. Fernandez, Merrimack College
Evaluation Methods: 

I do not assess their performance on creating the videos. The fact that they are able to submit the videos to me successfully is evidence that they have followed the instructions.

I have students peer-review videos created by other students. They are asked to provide feedback on the content and correctness of the video, as well as the quality of the presentation.

Evaluation Results: 

Students and faculty usually have little trouble following these instructions. The most common errors are listed below.

  • The video creator forgets to turn on the audio recording before beginning the screen recording process.
    • If this happens, the video must be re-recorded with the microphone on or the audio must be added using another program, such as iMovie.
  • The video cannot be edited to remove the "dead time" at the beginning and end of the video.
    • The iPad screen is very touchy and it can be hard to get the video selected and highlighted. It takes a bit of practice.
  • The video creator exports a video without sound.
    • This means that the iPad is running an older version of the iOS and the other set of instructions must be followed.
Description: 

Many faculty and students now have iPads and Apple Pencils for use in their classes. At Merrimack, we have a 1:1 iPad program (called Mobile Merrimack) in which all students and faculty are provided an iPad and students are also given an Apple Pencil and a keyboard. (Departments must purchase Apple Pencils for faculty members.) My department has leveraged this initiative in many ways and the iPad has been incorporated into the general chemistry and organic chemistry sequences, and into many of our upper-level courses.

The iPad is a really great tool for creating educational videos for classes, especially when paired with an Apple Pencil to facilitate writing on the screen in a very natural manner. It is very easy to create videos on your iPad using the Screen Recording Feature that is part of recent version of the iOS. When the Screen Recording is activated, anything shown on the iPad screen is captured to video and audio can be recorded using the built-in microphone or any connected microphone. My go-to iPad app for handwriting is Notability and I use the screen recording function to capture my writing and audio. Any app that you prefer can be used. (I have attached two videos as examples - one with audio and one without audio.)

My colleagues and I use the iPad to create videos that we distribute to our classes via our LMS (Blackboard or Google Classroom). I have also given my students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of topics and concepts by creating narrated videos on their iPad and submitting them to me for credit (or for extra credit when revising exams). The linked instructions are those that I provide to my students and colleagues so that they can create videos on their own.

I have tried to keep these up to date with the changes in the operating system and I would appreciate any feedback that you have on these instructions. There are two versions of the instructions linked to this LO: one for current version (13) of the iOS and one for older versions of the iOS. I would also be happy to add any other information that you feel is necessary as you work through the recording process.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any help.

Topics Covered: 
Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After reading these instructions, a student or faculty member should be able to:

  • start the screen recording function on an iPad,
  • record a video that captures the iPad screen along with audio from a microphone,
  • save the video in their photo stream,
  • edit out the portions at the beginning and end of the video, and
  • export the video to a cloud service for sharing with others.
Implementation Notes: 

There are many ways to create videos on the iPad and some of those involve apps that cost money to purchase. This method for recording videos takes advantage of functionality built into iOS and will record anything shown on the iPad screen.

As mentioned in the description, I use this method to create videos for my students. I also provide these instructions to my students so that they can create videos that they can submit to me. 

Time Required: 
variable; depends on the length of the video
2 Mar 2020

ChemCrafter

Submitted by Michelle Personick, Wesleyan University
Evaluation Methods: 

Student learning is not assessed directly after the activity, but rather is assessed indirectly through student performance on related homework and exam questions. More specifically, the second section of the exams in my general chemistry course always asks students to "provide a concise (but complete) explanation or rationalization for [some number] of the following statements." This section is particularly suited to assessing the learning goals above.

Evaluation Results: 

This activity was recently introduced, and student performance has not been evaluated yet.

Description: 

ChemCrafter, from the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation), is a free iPad app that mimics a classic chemistry set. It is set up as a game, with three sections: reactions with water, reactions with acid, and salts. The app shows the progress of the reaction (smoke, color change, etc.) when two elements are mixed in a reaction vessel, and also gives the change in enthalpy of the reaction.

Pros: It's a safe and fun way to demonstrate some visually exciting chemical reactions. It's free and the graphics are high quality. The app projects well on a large screen using a standard classroom projector.

Cons: Accessing later sections of reactions requires completion of the previous sections, and there is some artificial gating of chemical and glassware replenishment behind wait times. As a result, it's best used as a demo rather than as a dry lab. It's also only available for the iPad.

 

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

Students should be able to explain the difference between thermodynamics and kinetics.

Students should be able to explain why even thermodynamically favorable reactions sometimes do not proceed on an observable timescale.

Students should be able to explain why heat is sometimes necessary to make a highly exothermic reaction proceed.

Implementation Notes: 

Once everything is unlocked, it's possible to set up any reaction using the chemicals in the given "set" for each category of reaction. I use ChemCrafter in my second semester general chemistry course to transition from a unit on reactions of ions in aqueous solution (hydration/hydrolysis, Bronsted acid/base and hard-soft acid base principles of solubility/reactivity, etc.) to a unit on kinetics. I show a series of reactions from the salt section that the students would expect to have roughly increasing enthalpies of lattice formation based on the Born-Lande equation:

[Note: All reactants are in their elemental form in the app, so the enthalpies of formation aren't truly lattice energies.]

2 Na + Cl2 --> 2 NaCl   (1+ cation with a 1- anion) 

2 K + F2 --> 2 KF (1+ cation with a 1- anion)

Zn + Cl2 --> 2 ZnCl(2+ cation wtih a 1- anion)

These combinations were selected because their reactions in the app become increasingly dramatic (and colorful) in this order. I then show the students a set of reactions that they would expect to be even more exciting, but which don't actually proceed without heat. They hold their breath for the first one to react.

Zn + S --> ZnS (2+ cation with a 2- anion)

2 Al + 3 I2 --> 2 AlI3 (3+ cation with a 1- anion)

The app provides an option for heating these mixtures of elements with a bunsen burner, and then they react dramatically. At this point, we're ready to discuss the difference between thermodynamics--which is all they've seen up to this point--and kinetics.

Time Required: 
5-10 minutes of class time
9 Jan 2020

Marvin suite from ChemAxon

Submitted by Anthony L. Fernandez, Merrimack College
Evaluation Methods: 

As my students draw structures, I usually observe them and make suggestions to improve their drawings. 

Evaluation Results: 

While I do no formal assessment of this activity, I have observed that students seem to learn how to use the program fairly quickly and then use it without much difficulty for the rest of the semester.

Description: 

It is important for students to be able to effectively communicate the results of their scientific work. This does not only inlcude written and oral communication, but the creation of appropriate representations of the complexes they have investigated. It is crucial that students learn how to draw molecules using electronic structure drawing programs, but site licenses for structure drawing programs can be prohibitive for some institutions.

Marvin suite is a software package from ChemAxon that is freely avaialble for educational institutions. It contains a structure drawing program (MarvinSketch) and a viewer (MarvinView), as well as tools that allow for the calculation of many molecular and spectroscopic properties of molecules. This is a very useful suite of programs that can be used by all students and faculty at an instituion once an Academic License is obtained.

A set of directions for drawing a coordination complex in MarvinSketch is also included as part of this learning object. These directions will guide the user as they draw the structure of a square-planar coordination complex, trans-[Ni(NCS)2(PMe3)2].

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

After following the instructions, students should be able to draw a chemical structure electronically using a chemical structure drawing program.

Once the structure in drawn in the program, a user would then be able to access the many other functions available in the software.

Implementation Notes: 

During the first week of our semester, lab sections are usually not held for courses so that student enrollment issues can be sorted out. In an advanced course such as Inorganic Chemistry, I want to take advantage of every week that I can so I use the first lab meeting time to have students learn how to use several software programs that they wil use over the course of the semester. 

I post the download link and the license file for the software on the course LMS before the lab period and I ask the students to download and install the software. You should make sure that students update their Java installation before installing the Marvin suite. (I also place a link to the Java download site on the course LMS as well, but students tend to ignore it.) Aside from the Java issue, I have found that there are no real issues encountered by students when they install the software. 

When we meet, I ask the students to follow the linked instructions to create a drawing of a coordination complex. Once they complete that successfully, I ask them to draw several other structures. I do not  have any specific structures that I use, but I try to choose complexes with different geometries (octahedral, tetrahedral, square pyramidal, etc.) around the metal center.

The Marvin suite of programs provides the students with a number of useful tools, not just a structure drawing progam. Students use this to calculate or estimate a number of different things, such as the molecular mass, the elemental analysis, a mass spectrum, 1H and 13C NMR, and charge distribution.

To obtain a license file, the faculty member must log into the ChemAxon site and request an Academic License. Once approved, the instituion is allowed to use the software for 2 years and the license can be easily renewed when it expires.

 

Time Required: 
30 minutes
9 Jun 2019

An improved method for drawing the bonding MO for dihydrogen

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

When I do this correctly, the students don't accidentally see something which may make immature students giggle.

Evaluation Results: 

I have had multiple colleagues tell me that this technique worked for them and saved them from repeating an embarassing classroom event.

Description: 
Most of us have probably been there. Discussing homonuclear diatomic MO diagrams and on the first day you want to put up the sigma bonding molecular orbital for H2. If you teach it like me, you emphasize the LCAO-MO approach, so you draw a hydrogen atom with its 1s orbital interacting with a hydrogen atom with its 1s orbital...and then you notice giggling from the less mature audience members. My technique will help to prevent this from happening. The technique is in the "faculty only" files section.
Learning Goals: 

The instructor will draw the bonding MO of dihydrogen without accidentally causing laughter in the class or self embarassment.

Corequisites: 
Equipment needs: 

chalkboard or whiteboard

ability to adjust quickly just in case

Prerequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

I have come close to accidentally drawing the incorrect version of this diagram and I am able to stop myself quickly as illustrated in the instructions. 

Time Required: 
a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.

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