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ERIC Number: EJ1073051
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
The Use of Molecular Modeling as "Pseudoexperimental" Data for Teaching VSEPR as a Hands-On General Chemistry Activity
Martin, Christopher B.; Vandehoef, Crissie; Cook, Allison
Journal of Chemical Education, v92 n8 p1364-1368 Aug 2015
A hands-on activity appropriate for first-semester general chemistry students is presented that combines traditional VSEPR methods of predicting molecular geometries with introductory use of molecular modeling. Students analyze a series of previously calculated output files consisting of several molecules each in various geometries. Each structure is analyzed with respect to the calculated relative energies and bond angles and then compared to the predicted geometry obtained using VSEPR theory. Therefore, students gain exposure to and an introductory experience in computational chemistry, while reinforcing the connection between VSEPR theory and "pseudoexperimental" results obtained from the calculations. This exercise can be completed by first-semester general chemistry students in a 3-h time period and without the need for students to learn how to actually perform the calculation themselves. The benefits of the exercise as well as the impact of such visualization activities on spatial orientation, particularly with respect to gender, are discussed.
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: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE-0757057