5 Creative Ways to Teach Students the Principles of Molecular Resonance

Anjaney Kothari

Molecular resonance is a key phenomenon in organic chemistry that determines the distribution of electrons in molecules, and affects the stability and reactivity of these molecules. Understanding this phenomenon completely requires a knowledge of orbital theory, electron movement, molecular structures, bond rotation, and numerous other concepts. Educators, therefore, need to develop innovative methods to teach their students about the principles of molecular resonance. Here, we list five creative ways to teach students about molecular resonance.

1. Engage Students with Interactive Models

Interactive models allow students to recreate scientific phenomena themselves, fostering a sense of awe-inspiring discovery. This helps students to learn even the most challenging topics in an independent and immersive way.

Take Labster’s molecular resonance simulation, for example. In our simulation, students interact with electrons through holograms of molecular structures, moving them around to create resonance structures. They also interact with the 3D structure of a conjugated system, hexatriene, visualizing and learning about carbon atom p-orbitals.

Molecular resonance virtual lab.

2. Make the Topic Fun with Games and Activities

Games and activities pull students away from the classroom and take them into a world of wondrous imagination. In this gamified world, they collaborate, learn, teach, compete, and wonder, ultimately developing a firm grip over the study material.

Here are some games and activities you could use to teach the principles of molecular resonance:

·   Provide your students with ball-and-stick models of conjugated molecular systems and help them understand pi bonds and electron delocalization.

·   Divide your class into groups. Give all groups a number of different molecular resonance structures and ask them to rank them based on stability. The group that determines the correct stability order in the shortest time wins.

3. Infuse Technology into Lessons

Imagine being able to visualize electrons being delocalized and shared among multiple atoms in a molecule. Imagine being able to touch and interact with these electrons. Modern educational technologies, like simulation, animation and virtual reality, make this possible. The immersive learning experience that these technologies facilitate incites curiosity and improves learning.

For example, Labster’s molecular resonance virtual lab uses interactive simulation and animation to teach:

·   Charge delocalization and its role in molecular stability.

·   Conjugated systems and how to identify atoms that are a part of such systems.

·   Role of p-orbital hybridization in molecular resonance.

·       Molecular rotation around single bonds, and how it can generate various structural conformations.

Overall, our simulation allows students to take a close look at how resonance occurs at the atomic and molecular levels.

Phenol resonance structures in a virtual lab.
Discover Labster's molecular resonance virtual lab today!

4. Inspire Students Through Career Exploration

Undergraduate students are at a delicate stage in their lives where they are actively making decisions about their professional future. Educators can take this opportunity to inspire students to learn a topic by discussing the careers that depend on it.

For example, when teaching resonance structures, talk about how materials scientists use the principles of molecular resonance to develop advanced materials for use in electronic devices. Discuss how biochemists and enzymologists design enzymes with better catalysis results by understanding how resonance can affect molecular stability. Tell your students how nanotechnologists use resonance to tweak the electronic properties of nanomaterials for biosensing applications.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Applications

It is always inspirational to hear about how the application of a scientific concept has transformed how the world works. Thus, educators should spend some time discussing the real-world applications of the concept they are teaching. This will create a strong mental connection between the students and the topic of study.

For example, to connect molecular resonance to its real-world applications, you can discuss how:

·   Pharmaceutical design uses the principles of molecular resonance to develop better drugs with adequate stability, reactivity and binding affinity.

·   The field of organic electronics leverages molecular resonance to develop polymeric molecules with enhanced electrical conductivity.

·   The development of stable pesticides in agriculture involves the use of molecular resonance principles.

Final thoughts

Molecular resonance is a complex, crucial phenomenon that has a significant impact on the stability and chemical behavior of molecules. By using the creative methods that we have discussed here, educators can inspire their students to learn about molecular resonance.

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