Category: Best Practices in Teaching Chemistry
Title: Interactive Electron Configuration Tool for Chemistry
A second web site has been developed which allows the student to click on an element on the periodic chart and the complete electron configuration is shown including the spectroscopic notation. This web site is found at:
Chemistry software packages developed to enhance the teaching atomic theory are mostly static in nature.†† Chemistry is based on: where are the electrons in the atom? and were they are electrons missing.†† Biology faculty typically teach the satellite model of the atom suggested by Bohr in 1913 with electrons orbiting the nucleus like planets around a sun.† The quantum mechanical model of the atom rejects the satellite model for a probability model.† Electrons are found in sub energies levels call orbitals starting at the nucleus and occupying regions of space outside the nucleus. These orbitals are labeled s, p, d, f;† named after the observed line spectra (sharp, principle, diffuse, and fine spectra lines).† The orbital model demonstrates that electrons are found in pairs making the easy transition to the bonding concepts of electron pairs.† The orbital diagram †lines, circles or squares with arrows representing electrons. The arrows are pointing up and down to represent opposite spinning electrons.† Chemistry students must be able to place the electrons in the various orbitals to discover the elementís bonding characteristic.† Using the orbital model rather than the shorthand model (actually called spectroscopic notastion) which resembles mathematics (1s22s22p63s23p3 ), students have a pictorial concept (although abstract) of the electron building blocks of the atom.
The presenter has created an interactive web site for students to place electrons into orbitals to write the complete electron configuration of an atom. The web site is found at:
A second web site has been developed which allows the student to click on an element on the periodic chart and the complete electron configuration is show including the spectroscopic notation. This web site is found at:
The second file (e_confxe.tbk)† allows the student to interact with the orbital diagram† by placing the electrons on the screen by right or left clicking the mouse.† Electrons may be removed from the orbitals also by right and left clicking of the mouse. The student selects an element by highlighting† the element in the scrolling text field.† The electrons are added to orbitals by the student, then† a button is pushed to check the graphical objects on the screen.