About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 11139-11144
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2755

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain


The concept of chemical bonding is essential in Chemistry. Nevertheless, it is a problematic topic for students. In our particular case, we teach a Quantum Chemistry course in the second year of Chemistry Degree. Through years, we have noticed that most of our students disconnect when the long mathematical deductions involved by chemical bonding are presented in the class room. This trend did not change when we simplified these deductions, skeeping part of the process and leaving it as personal work.

The relevance of the concepts involved, and their importance for following the rest of the course, prompted us to look for alternative teaching strategies. Recently, we have designed short projects to lead the students into learning these concepts. Although the projects require the whole mathematical formalism behind chemical bond in monoelectronic and bielectronic systems, we highlight that our students response has changed significantly. In fact, we have found much better results in examinations after introducing this scheme. Moreover, the students display stronger abilities in solving numerical problems and have made use of informatics tools also.

The projects are based on replacing the usual textbook mathematical developments of the well-established model by alternative ones which contrast the essential ideas of chemical bonding with opposite ones. For example, whereas the simplest chemical bonding case, H2+ cation is presented as a linear combination of two atomic orbitals the H atom centred on each nucleus, we propose replacing them by other functions (including atomic orbitals) centred on different points. Each group of students deals with a different possibility and “investigates” if their model gives rise (or not) to a chemical bond. Worksheets implementing numerical integration methods are provided. They also receive instruction on using them. We also warn about that choosing the appropriate coordinates system simplify their mathematical task. In this way, they see how fruitful is spending some time designing strategies to make problems easier.

The results are presented in a seminar with short presentations by the students. Thus, the class explores the effect of overlap, suitable/unsuitable functions, different atomic orbitals, etc. and concludes the usual accepted ideas on this issue.
author = {Pe{\~n}a-Gallego, A. and Ferro-Costas, D. and Mosquera, R.A. and Bravo-D{\'{i}}az, C. and P{\'{e}}rez-Juste, I.},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.2755},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.2755},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {11139-11144}}
AU - A. Peña-Gallego AU - D. Ferro-Costas AU - R.A. Mosquera AU - C. Bravo-Díaz AU - I. Pérez-Juste
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2755
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 11139
EP - 11144
ER -
A. Peña-Gallego, D. Ferro-Costas, R.A. Mosquera, C. Bravo-Díaz, I. Pérez-Juste (2018) TEACHING CHEMICAL BONDING THROUGH PROJECT-BASED LEARNING, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 11139-11144.