28
Mar
2009

# Symmetry Resources at Otterbein University

## Web Resources and Apps

Submitted by Dean H. Johnston, Otterbein UniversityDescription:

The resources contained within this web site are designed to help students *learn* concepts of molecular symmetry and to help faculty *teach* concepts of molecular symmetry.

- Symmetry Tutorial - An interactive point group symmetry tutorial. Guides students through all of the symmetry elements and operations, with interactive displays and animations.

- Symmetry Gallery - A collection of nearly 70 unique molecules with interactive display of all symmetry elements and animation of all operations. The molecules are organized by point group, so you can select examples to demonstrate particular symmetry elements. Includes links to the chemical literature when available.

- Symmetry Challenge - Using the same set of molecules from the Gallery, the Challenge includes a flow chart that details the process of determining the point group of each molecule. A great way to practice the point group determination process.

Implementation Notes:

I have used these materials both for in-class demonstrations as well as for outside assignments when students are first learning concepts of point group symmetry.

System Requirements: All pages require a modern browser with both Java and Javascript enabled. These pages are fully compatible with Internet Explorer 6 and 7 (PC), Safari (Mac & Windows), and Firefox 1.x - 3.x (PC, Mac, Linux).

Web Resources:

## Comments

## I love this! I used t to

I love this! I used t to teach symmetry in Fall 2009, and plan to do this again in Fall 2010.

Sibrina Collins, PhD College of Wooster

## I agree! This is fantastic

I agree! This is fantastic Dean! I used it in both of my inorganic courses. It is a great way to introduce new students to improper rotations, in particular. And even my Advanced students found it very helpful for honing their skills at assigning point groups.

At the suggestion of Adam Johnson (Harvey Mudd), I put the following question on the first problem set for my Advanced Inorganic course to force them to spend some time with these tools:

The students sure chose some interesting molecules to look at!

## I used to just use Dean's

## This is a great Web site.I

This is a great Web site.

I also encourage you to look at using a

Windows Platformwww.molwave.com/software/3dmolsym/3dmolsym/3dmolsym.htm

## Marion, your link seems to

## http://www.molwave.com/softwa

## This is great! I'm excited

This is great! I'm excited to show this to my students next time I teach inorganic.

## I also find this to be a

I also find this to be a great resource. I used it last year and am currently using it this year to teach symmetry and point groups. I have had a few students who commented that they had difficulty visualizing improper rotation operations until seeing the tutorial at Symmetry @ Otterbein. This year, I also did the challenge as part of an in-class group activity using some of the more challenging coordination complexes.

## I simply love it and I'm

I simply love it and I'm going to use it in my Advanced Inorganic class this semester. This a great resource to introduce symmetry for more complicated coordination complexes. I particularly like the interactive challenge part where students can assess their understanding of symmetry as well. Thank you for posting.

## I used this coupled with Lori

I used this coupled with Lori Watson's Symmetry Scavenger Hunt as a 3-hour lab period devoted to symmetry. My 13 students are mostly seniors, mostly have taken quantum.

Students worked individually given the following instructions:

Access the Symmetry@Otterbein webtool at http://symmetry.otterbein.edu. Click on the “Challenge” tab or link to “The Symmetry Challenge.”Choose ten (10) molecules using the following criteria and determine their respective point groups. For your post-lab report, submit a screenshot of your final “correct” screen that includes the molecule and point group. Organize these screen shots neatly and submit electronically.Criteria:No more than two molecules can have the same point group. In other words, at least five different point groups must be represented in your collection of ten molecules.Eight molecules must be inorganic.Eight molecules must have more than four atoms.One molecule must contain both a transition metal and a carbon atomStudents could have done this as a problem set, but we found it useful to be together so that I could help and to have a designated time when everyone had to work on this. One of my students said "thank you for making me do this" as he would not have been as careful on his own time.

We had discussed the meaning of "inorganic" on the first day of class, so students got to apply their preferred definition here.

I got the same comments that others list that Symmetry@Otterbein is helpful for visualizing improper rotations and reflection planes.

I refer students to the tutorial and gallery modules for extra help.

## If you're interested in the

If you're interested in the latest "cutting-edge" version, check out the following:

It is still a work in progress, but has a lot of new features, such as:

classesorientthe molecule with respect to specific elementsSymmetry Challengeallows incorrect answers (but gives the correct answer at the end)Symmetry Challengewill demonstrate how certain elements are NOT presentFeedback is always appreciated!