White Arrow Left

5 Creative Ways to Teach Stereochemistry Without Lecturing

Akanksha Saxena
August 24, 2023

Stereochemistry is a captivating branch of chemistry that delves into the spatial arrangement of atoms within molecules and its profound impact on their properties and interactions. It deals with the fascinating ideas of chirality, isomerism, and molecular symmetry which broadly sheds light on how subtle differences in three-dimensional arrangements can lead to dramatic disparities in chemical behavior. As a cornerstone of organic chemistry, stereochemistry not only enriches our understanding of molecular intricacies but also plays a pivotal role in fields ranging from drug design to materials science. 

To help educators plan well-organized lectures on the subject, we have compiled some resources here. The underlisted 5 innovative ways can be a game-changer for you and your students.

1. Use Interactive Models and Simulations

Incorporating models and simulations into the educational landscape while dealing with ideas related to stereochemistry can be empowering for students as it lets them explore the broader ramifications of molecular structure on reactivity, biological activity, and beyond. 

By immersing themselves in virtual simulative laboratories like the one from Labster, learners will be equipped with an enriched perspective on chiral molecules, stereogenic centers, etc. In this virtual lab, students can:

  • Discover the spatial arrangements of different molecules and learn how it influences their physical and chemical properties.
  • Switch from mere imagination of 3-D structures to their visualization in the virtual space where the molecules can also be rotated and broken without having to worry at all.
  • Get their knowledge tested via quizzes and tasks by our virtual researcher Dr. One.
Preview of STE 2 simulation.

2. Learning with Games and Activities

In an ode to elevate students’ understanding of stereochemistry, educators must try to incorporate gamified elements and interactive activities that can invigorate the learning process. This strategy can be a great way to immerse students in challenging situations and thought-provoking scenarios where they figure out for themselves the differences between:

  • S and R configurations
  • E and Z configurations
  • Different types of enantiomers

Gamification of core ideas of the subject can include scenarios where students identify stereogenic centers within complex chiral molecules using intuitive interfaces guided by small pop-ups and hints from virtual assistants like Dr. One in Labster’s Stereochemistry Virtual Lab. As it’s a virtual world, students can play without caring to not break the bonds and check the stereochemistry!!!

3. Infusing Technology into Study Plans

When dealing with complex subjects like stereochemistry, educators need to incorporate a technological dimension to keep the learning experience engaging and interactive. Utilization of new-age tools like virtual simulations, technologies like VR and AR, interactive animations, gamified elements, and digital feedback options can purposely serve as invaluable tools for you. These tools will not only facilitate the delivery of comprehensive lessons about stereoisomers and their underlying scientific explanations but will also enable you to gauge the optimal assimilation rate of students within a single session and track their teaching progress.

Some of the peculiar ways in which tech-driven lesson plans can surpass the conventional mode of lecture delivery are:

  • Provision of an interactive technology-driven environment where complex stereochemical concepts can be presented in a more engaging and comprehensible manner. 
  • Option of real-time visualizations and options to interact directly with molecular structures.
  • Serves as a more student-centric approach where learners get to identify between different enantiomers and configurations at their own pace.
  • Medium for hands-on exploration of molecular symmetry and asymmetry.
Preview of STE 4 simulation.
Discover Labster's Stereochemistry virtual lab today!

4. Inspiring Learners by Connecting to Career Prospects

To motivate students to learn and rationalize the underlying ideas of stereochemistry, we must bridge the gap between theoretical concepts of stereochemistry and the benefits of learning them in the form of plausible career options and professional success. Materializing mastery over the core concepts in the form of a research career or as an industrial chemist can be a good headstart. 

Emphasizing the key roles of scientists involved in molecular modeling studies and medicinal chemistry where they get to apply their skills acquired while learning stereochemistry can also be aspiring for young learners. The ability to deal with basic to advanced stereochemistry questions is also highly sought after in pharmaceutical R&Ds where research engineer deal with specific enantiomers that might influence drug effectiveness and safety. Another brilliant way to enthuse young learners about stereochemistry is by discussing how synthetic chemistry works and how industries mint billions using it.

5. Connecting the Topic to Real-World Applications

The idea of stereochemistry can be made simpler for learners by correlating it with its profound impacts and utilizations for diverse real-world applications. Underscoring how the basic understanding of the spatial arrangement of atoms in molecules can be of paramount importance in drug design as different enantiomers exhibit drastically different biological activities can be inspiring for learners. Furthermore, in the domain of material science, stereochemistry governs the properties of polymers as it influences their strength, solubility, and conductivity. This provides another avenue where students can look forward to applying their ideas to innovate and experiment. 

You can also discuss how knowledge of stereoisomerism aids in the synthesis of specific plant growth regulators (PGRs) in agricultural chemistry. As learners witness the larger impact of these concepts in the real world, they will be able to learn the molecular structure and functions of enantiomers, stereoisomers, and other related concepts with newfound interests.     

Final thoughts

Incorporating modern tools when teaching stereochemistry is vital for modern-day educators as it simplifies intricate ideas through dynamic visualizations, interactive modeling approaches, and engaging simulative environments.

To support educators in this endeavor, Labster has designed scientifically coherent and well-researched virtual lab where students can navigate through the challenges of a rapidly evolving scientific landscape. With this transformative way to teach stereochemistry, you can nurture a new generation of chemists who are ready to explore the magical interplay of atoms in 3-dimensional space.

Try our free 30-day All Access Educator's Pass today and teach with the Stereochemistry simulation alongside 300+ other virtual labs!


  1. McConathy, J., & Owens, M. J. (2003). Stereochemistry in drug action. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 5(2), 70.
  2. Kepert, D. L. (2012). Inorganic stereochemistry (Vol. 6). Springer Science & Business Media.
Screenshot of a virtual lab within a laptop frame. Discover how Labster empowers the next generation of scientists.
What exactly are virtual labs?
Learn more
Black arrow right

Explore more

All Blogs
Black arrow right

Ready to rethink your STEM program?

Talk to an expert to discover if virtual labs are right for you.

Schedule a Free Consultation