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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 21 (2016) pp 51-52

An Activity to Teach Students to Identify Intermolecular Forces in Introductory Chemistry Courses

Kate J. Graham*

Chemistry Department, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, 37 South College Avenue, St. Joseph, MN 56374,
Received July 27, 2015. Accepted February 24, 2016.

Published: 21 March 2016

Abstract. When general chemistry students encounter intermolecular forces, they are often overwhelmed with attempting to determine which type of interaction will be present in a solution or mixture. The use of a decision table is a useful tool to teach students to evaluate a chemical system. The decision table provided herein can help students predict the strongest intermolecular interaction (IMF) present in a chemical solution. Once students are able to identify the IMF present, they can start to use these ideas to explain more complex phenomena.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; high school chemistry; mnemonics/rote learning; problem solving/decision making; intermolecular forces

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (56 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

The activity, related guided inquiry materials, and an instructor’s guide to the course materials are provided. (423 KB)


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