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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 10 Issue 6 (2005) pp 416-418

Generation of an Animated Molecular Model: An Exercise in Structure Interpretation and Identification of Resonance Hybrid Contributing Structures

Don R. Davies* and Mark L. Hill

Chemistry Department, Weber State University, Ogden, UT 84408,
Received June 7, 2005. Accepted August 11, 2005.

Published online: 19 October 2005

Abstract. Resonance is a key fundamental principle taught in introductory organic chemistry. It is traditionally taught early in the first semester because it impacts most subsequent concepts taught throughout the entire year. At this stage students are just learning to draw and interpret structures and often have difficulty with abstract principles and intricate details. This animated molecular model constructed of students provides a concrete and enjoyable method for students to participate in the electron delocalization among atoms involved in a resonance hybrid. As students build the model, they gain practice interpreting line-angle structures and distinguishing localized lone-pair electrons from delocalized electrons. The animated molecular model effectively illustrates the development of or transfer of formal charge as electrons are delocalized. Class participation is enhanced as students assess each resonance contributor to the overall hybrid.

Key Words: In the Classroom; organic chemistry; resonance

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (184 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:


Supporting Materials:

Supporting material containing a list of supplies, additional photos of students modeling resonance structures, and the assessment quiz and data is available in a Zip file as supporting material. (4.2 MB)

Issue date: December 1, 2005

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