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Teacher Notes

Project Building a Molecular Model

Students research a molecular compound and construct a 3-dimensional model and booklet. Booklet
contents draw on several concepts from the bonding unit. Time Frame: 1 class period + 1-2 weeks
outside of class.
Chemistry Concepts: bond energy, bond length, bond polarity, Lewis structures, molecular geometry,
molecular polarity, physical properties.

Molecular Model Project handout
Molecular Model Project Grading Sheet
Reference materials:
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics physical properties, bond energy
Logal Chemistry Gateways software, Periodic Table tool covalent radii
Internet Web sites physical properties, covalent radii
Covalent Radii resources:
The Periodic Table Tool on any of the Logal Chemistry Gateways CD-ROMs
Web Elements Online Periodic Table
Bond Energy resource: Bond Strength of Diatomic Molecules data in the CRC

Distribute copies of the Molecular Model Project handout and Grading Sheet to students. Provide an
alternative assignment on which students can work while they are waiting to choose a molecule and use
the available reference materials.
Have students randomly choose a molecule. Make sure that all choices correspond to the shapes students
are responsible for knowing, and that they can be found in the CRC Physical Constants of Inorganic (or
Organic) Compounds chart. The attached list of compounds has been screened for inclusion in the CRC,
but different editions vary, so double-check to be sure. The list is in order of difficulty in terms of model
building and Lewis structures:

Color Model Shapes Lewis Structures

blue (easy) linear, trigonal planar, bent single bonds only
green (moderate) trigonal pyramidal, tetrahedral includes some double bonds (ex: CO2)
red (honors) trigonal bipyramidal, octahedral includes some resonance structures (ex: SO 3)

Adapt the booklet requirements as needed to fit the reference materials you have available. For example,
you may need to use atomic radius or Van der Waals radius instead of covalent radius.
The potential energy diagram is included to show that the point
of greatest stability (lowest PE) determines the bond length and
bond energy. This requirement is recommended for honors only.
The potential energy diagram for H2 is as shown:
Teacher Notes

BeH2 BeF2 BeCl2 BeBr2

Teacher Notes

BeI2 BF3 BCl3 BBr3

BI3 AlF3 AlCl3 AlBr3

AlI3 GaF3 GaCl3 GaBr3

GaI3 InF3 InCl3 InBr3

InI3 TlF3 TlCl3 TlBr3

TlI3 H2O H2S H2Se

H2Te OF2 Cl2O SCl2

TeCl2 TeBr2 TeI2 NH3

NF3 NCl3 NI3 PH3

PF3 PCl3 PBr3 PI3

AsH3 AsF3 AsCl3 AsBr3

AsI3 CH4 CF4 CCl4

CBr4 CI4 SiH4 SiF4

SiCl4 SiBr4 SiI4 GeH4

GeF4 GeCl4 GeBr4 GeI4

Teacher Notes

CO2 CS2 CSe2 SiO2

SiS2 PF5 PCl5 PBr5

AsF5 AsI5 SF6 SeF6

SO3 SeO3 TeO3