VSEPR Molecular Shapes Student Model Kits

Active Learning Approach.  VSEPR Worksheet Activity I©2018.  Students assemble the six basic VSEPR molecular geometries up through the octahedral configuration, AX6E0.  Students do this with some (the minimum) information provided.  As students build the models and draw Lewis structures, more information is provided.  Students visualize and represent molecules in 3-Dimensions. High quality plastic individual model kits for VSEPR configurations are used to enable students to build molecular models. Given a molecular formula , students draw the Lewis Structure, Identify the total regions of electron domains around the central atom, build the model of the molecule, draw a 3D representation of the molecule, identify the molecular shape, identify the bond angles. Optional set of Power Point slides are available to accompany this active learning activity.  An optional activity worksheet accompanies the molecular model kits.

Active Learning Approach.  VSEPR Worksheet Activity II©2018. Students visualize and represent molecules in 3-Dimensions. High quality plastic individual model kits for VSEPR configurations are used to enable students to build molecular models.  Given a molecular formula , students draw the Lewis Structure, Identify the total regions of electron domains around the central atom, build the model of the molecule, draw a 3D representation of the molecule, identify the molecular shape, identify the bond angles.and classify the molecule as polar or non-polar.  The suggested set of compounds all contain one or more lone electron pairs around the central atom.  Optional set of Power Point slides are available to accompany this active learning activity.  An optional activity worksheet accompanies the molecular model kits.

VSEPR Worksheet Activity I and II©2018 Chemistry Education Instructional Resources, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403.   D. Exton, T. Greenbowe, R. Sullivan, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403.

Curriculum Notes 

This activity should be done after the basic shapes are discussed and some examples of how to determine molecular structure when lone electrons pairs are present.. total regions of electron domaine vs. molecular shape. 

Learning Objectives

1. Draw Lewis structures representing the arrangement and connectivity of atoms, and bonds between atoms, and or lone electron pairs for molecules or polyatomic ions.

2.  Use Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) Theory to facilitate determining the arrangement of regions of electron domains around the central atom or molecules or polyatomic ions.

3.  Using the plastic spheres and plastic connecting rods, build 3D models representing molecules or polyatomic ions.  Identify the molecular shape of the molecule or polyatomic ion.

4.  Sketch 3D structures representing molecules or polyatomic ions. 

5.  Identify the bond angles, the AXE notation, the molecular geometric shape, and identify whether the molecule is polar or non-polar.

Lead Time 
Three days of lead time is required for this project.
Materials 

Up to 300 sets of:

  • 1 yellow octahedral central atom
  • 1 blue trigonal bipyramidal central atom
  • 1 black tetrahedral central atom
  • 6 white monovalent ligand atoms
  • 6 single bonds
  • 2 beige paddles (lone electron pairs)
  • 1 metal box
Procedure 

The model kits and worksheet are distributed as students enter the classroom. Instructors must provide 3 minutes at the end this activity for students to dis-assemble their models and place all of the parts back in the metal box.  Students return their metal box to the large plastic bins placed at the exits of the room.

Instructors must not let this activity run into the last minute of class or the lecture demo staff will have to dis-assemble 285 models and place the parts back in the metal boxes. 

© Copyright 2012 Email: Randy Sullivan, University of Oregon Chemistry Department and UO Libraries Interactive Media Group