NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1048342
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
An Inquiry-Based Learning Approach to the Introduction of the Improper Rotation-Reflection Operation, S[subscript n]
Graham, John P.
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n12 p2213-2215 Dec 2014
Symmetry properties of molecules are generally introduced in second-year or third-year-level inorganic or physical chemistry courses. Students generally adapt readily to understanding and applying the operations of rotation (C[subscript n]), reflection (s), and inversion (i). However, the two-step operation of improper rotation-reflection (S[subscript n]) often provides a greater challenge for students. S[subscript n] operations can be difficult to identify and visualize, and the reason their inclusion in the different types of symmetry operations is not always clear or explained. In this contribution, an inquiry-based learning exercise is used to introduce students to the S[subscript n] operation: The results of all symmetry operations are first listed by simple permutations of atoms, and then students search for operations to bring about these permutations.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A