Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Sub Image2:Macro to Micro Structures
1) Atoms and Molecules2) Macro to Micro Structures 3) Energetics and Dynamics 4) Theory and Practice in Chemical Systems 5) Chemical Design 6) The Chemistry of Life 7) Chemistry and the Environment 8) Chemistry at the Interface
From: Don Petty (fdpetty@ilstu.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 29 2003 - 15:50:06 EST

You might be interested in checking out a web site designed by Mark Winter (of the Chemistry Dept at the University of Sheffield, UK).  It's called "The Orbitron -- a gallery of atomic orbitals and molecular orbitals on the WWW"). The URL is
It includes images representing atomic orbitals and molecular orbitals, animated plots of wave functions, animated plots of electron density, "dot-density" plots of electron density, and lots of radial distribution functions.

Here's an excerpt from the text explanation accompanying the images for the 1s orbital:

<http://www.shef.ac.uk/chemistry/orbitron/AOs/1s/index.html>.  The OrbitronTM, a gallery of orbitals on the WWW, URL: <http://www.shef.ac.uk/chemistry/orbitron/>.  Copyright 2002, Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield]. All rights reserved.  Document served: Wednesday 29th January, 2003

"The shape of the 1s orbital:  For any atom there is just one 1s orbital. Consider the shape on the left. The surface of the shape represents points for which the electron density for that orbital is the same - an isosurface. The image shows clearly the spherical shape of the 1s function.  The orbital on the right is sliced in half to show that there is no spherical node in the 1s orbital. Examine the electron density plots to see that the electron density increases exponentially towards the nucleus.  While still spherical, the higher s-orbitals (2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, and 7s) are more complex since they have spherical nodes."

Sounds complicated --  but the images are worth thousands of words.  After you see the shape of the 1s, you can just click on another link to compare the shapes of the 2s, 3s, 2p, 3p, etc.  Works great in the classroom if you have a big screen TV or monitor or a projection system.

Don Petty
University High School
Laboratory Schools, College of Education
Illinois State University
Normal  IL  61790

At 09:23:57 AM 1/28/2003, Fiona Rae wrote:

I wondered about that software. We had subscribed to Chemplace but next year with its demise, we will be looking for a replacement in the form of interactive software. Has anyone got any yet?

-----Original Message-----
tfalcone@comcast.net [mailto:tfalcone@comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 6:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkchemistry] (visualizing orbitals)

Has anyone had any luck with software that allows you to see how these molecules look and their geometry? I know in biology, it helps me when I use rasmol or chime plugins that alllow students to see structures of hemoglobin etc.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Katie Johnson" <
To: <
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 11:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkchemistry] (visualizing orbitals)

> Regarding visualizing orbitals
> I went to the local craft store and found some styrofoam balls that were "egg" shaped.  One student (as a special project) made a model with a
large round styrofoam ball (2s) and 6 of the egg shaped balls (2p) stuck on at appropriate x,y,z axes.  We then (using a hot knife) cut out a section of the large round ball following a line around the "equator" of the ball 1/4 of the way around and then from each end point up to the top of the ball.  We took a smaller round styrofoam ball (1s) and cut its shape to match  the hole and glued it in.  We tried to duplicate the composite orbitals graphic from Addison Wesley's HS Chemistry Book. (4th ed. =3D page 248, 5th ed 3D page 365)  Now as I talk about the orbitals I hold up a small ball for the 1s and my model (with the cut out section facing away from the class) and we talk about the 2s and 2p.  Then I rotate the model to show the 1s is inside. It seems to help.
> Katherine Johnson
> Chemistry Teacher
> Madison East High School
> Madison, Wisconsin


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