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Molecular Geometry

Use models of electron arrangement around atoms to discover how molecules form linear, trigonal planar, and trigonal pyramidal shapes.

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The Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart is required to run any of the activities. You can download it at: java.com.

Learn to identify different molecular shapes, to understand the interactions that create these shapes, and how to predict a molecule’s shape given certain information about it. Explore these concepts using three-dimensional computer models and answer a series of questions to reinforce your understanding.

» Teacher Guide

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Subject
Chemistry

Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation

Grade Level
High School

License
LGPL License

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 4D/M1cd*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
  • 4D/M3cd. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that in solids, the atoms or molecules are closely locked in position and can only vibrate. In liquids, they have higher energy, are more loosely connected, and can slide past one another; some molecules may get enough energy to escape into a gas. In gases, the atoms or molecules have still more energy and are free of one another except during occasional collisions.
  • 4D/M11** (NSES). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that substances react chemically in characteristic ways with other substances to form new substances with different characteristic properties.
  • 4D/M13**. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that the idea of atoms explains chemical reactions: When substances interact to form new substances, the atoms that make up the molecules of the original substances combine in new ways.
  • 4D/H2*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the number of protons in the nucleus determines what an atom's electron configuration can be and so defines the element. An atom's electron configuration, particularly the outermost electrons, determines how the atom can interact with other atoms. Atoms form bonds to other atoms by transferring or sharing electrons.
  • 4D/H8. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the configuration of atoms in a molecule determines the molecule's properties. Shapes are particularly important in how large molecules interact with others.
  • 4D/H10**. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the physical properties of compounds reflect the nature of the interactions among its molecules. These interactions are determined by the structure of the molecule, including the constituent atoms and the distances and angles between them.

10. Historical Perspectives

10F. Understanding Fire
  • 10F/H5*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that since Lavoisier and Dalton, the system for describing chemical reactions has been vastly extended to account for the configuration taken by atoms when they bond to one another and to describe the inner workings of atoms that account for why they bond as they do.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 11B/M1*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 11B/M4** (BSL). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
11D. Scale
  • 11D/M3**. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.

Copyright
© Copyright The Concord Consortium

Record Link
<a href="stem-resources/molecular-geometry">The Concord Consortium. Molecular Geometry. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010, September 23.</a>

AIP
Molecular Geometry (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (http://concord.org/stem-resources/molecular-geometry).

AJP
Molecular Geometry (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (http://concord.org/stem-resources/molecular-geometry).

APA
Molecular Geometry. (2010, September 23). Retrieved 2014, September 1, from The Concord Consortium: http://concord.org/stem-resources/molecular-geometry

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

The Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart is required to run any of the activities. You can download it at: java.com.

The download for this activity will require 5 MB of disk space.

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Science of Atoms and MoleculesThis resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's Science of Atoms and Molecules project.

Grade Level
High School
Subject
Chemistry
Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation
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