Animated Chemistry Tutorial and Model is a web site that provides users with comprehensive and interactive tutorials (containing shockwave animations) on molecule representation and modeling including Lewis Dot representation of organic and inorganic compounds, atomic orbital and hybridization, VSEPR and molecular orbital theory. Tutorials also cover phase diagram and heating/cooling curve. The animations are of a very high quality and extremely clear in presentation. Several quizzes are offered at the end to review bonding.
Instructors/TA can also request a free Login ID to use a companion Course Management System. This allows instructors to: create a class on-line, have students enroll in the class, select various assignments and create a schedule for them, establish grading parameters and scales for automated assessment, provide individualized learning and assessment and automatic learning reports.
This site integrates Lewis structures with VSEPR, VB and MO calculations of energy levels, surfaces etc. The objective is to provide a complete understanding of the bonding associated with most of the common molecules, diatomic elements, main group acids, ions etc.
Target Student Population:
Advanced level high school, introductory chemistry, organic and physical chemistry students will find this web site useful.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students should have background in chemical bonding and good understanding of fundamental concepts such as Periodic Table, valence electron and electronic structure
Type of Material:
The site uses various shockwave animations from Macromedia which you are prompted to download/install if necessary. The load time may be a little long for slow internet connections.
Students learning about bonding will see how to draw Lewis structures, assign geometries (VSEPR), and learn the ramifications of those structures on bond angles, hybridization (Valence Bond Theory),
and electron surfaces. Organic students will benefit from HOMO-LUMO values.
Shockwave is required.
Evaluation and Observation
The way the site incorporates VB and MO calculations showing contours, shapes, surfaces, energy levels, any kind of calculated parameter one might imagine, is extraordinary. The animation is done in such a way that the user can manipulate the animations to learn at their level, from 1st year student to senior or graduate level student. The labelling of the MO's is particularly helpful. It also provides a comprehensive and interactive tutorials on Lewis Dot representation of organic and inorganic compounds.
Some of the orbital labelling is distorted graphically (letters are cutoff at the top etc.). These are small things. The animations could also be made much larger to use more of the real estate available on most screens.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This is an excellent web site that can used at different levels of the chemistry curriculum including general, organic and physical chemistry. The thermodynamic models are extremely clear and inviting. The user obtains both a molecular and a macroscopic understanding of what is happening. The thermodynamic animations are a splendid example of best practice. The Lewis structures and energy calculations are clear and very helpful. Also the user can request a Login ID to use the web site as a course management system for instructional delivery, tracking and grading.
Some of the animations are quite fast with the graphical elements, not using enough of the available graphical space making the following of events difficult. It would be helpful if the animation speeds were slowed or under user control.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is clearly laid out, although better menu control and navigability throughout the site would be helpful. The construction of the Lewis structures is particular informative and intriguing,
meaning that students will use the site as a tutorial. The animations on this site set a new standard of excellence.
The hybridization graphical items are really too small to show what you want to show. Use as much of the graphical real estate as possible to more clearly present the ideas. Change the backgrounds from black to some more appealing color. Consider getting a graphic design student to give some advice on font and layout issues. The flashing menu items are quite distracting.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is an outstanding set of animations giving simple thermodynamic demonstrations such as phase diagrams, phase changes, molecular properties of water. In addition there is a complete set of animations related to valence bond and MO energy levels, Lewis structures etc. for a very large range of molecules and ions. The animations are extremely information, very interactive, and visually appealing. The site will find wide use by students of chemistry throughout their careers.