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Modernizing General Chemistry for the Year 2050: Why Are General Chemistry - page 9 / 13





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to refer to concepts that are troublesome to teach, whilst others refer to concepts with which they are troubled (the intended target of the question).


Puzzling Concepts

Troublesome Concepts

(to teach to students/for yourself)

Comfort Level



Particle-Wave Duality


Yes, with what I teach


Philosophical interpretations – double slit experiment

Orbital shapes

Legendre and Laguerre polynomials



Why don’t electrons and protons annihilate?

Why aren’t there anti-atoms?

QM tunneling

no direct response

Comfortable at freshman and sophomore levels; scared of junior level physical chemistry


Particle duality

What is a field?

Bonding and molecule formation

never will “feel well-prepared to teach quantum concepts”


The contrast between the classical and quantum mechanical views

Angular and magnetic spin components of wave functions – wants better teaching tools

Concepts in physic-based QM class – not as well-prepared as physics colleagues


Yes, but needs to refer to unavailable notes.

Hybrid orbitals

Localized VB theory

Delocalized MO theory

Bonding and antibonding MOs

None listed

Table III

7. Is Instruction in Quantum Concepts Worth the Time?

Three out of six of the instructors (R1, R4, and R5) responded unambiguously that instruction in quantum concepts is worth the effort and time. (Instructor R2 read the question as if it applied to his own studying.) Two of the instructors (R3 and R6) voiced concerns as to whether students in the biology sequence, or the non-science sequence, really benefit from an introduction to quantum concepts. R6 definitely felt that the quantum concepts must be taught to chemistry majors. R3 sees the chemistry courses as a spiral curriculum, so the introduction at the general chemistry level will benefit the students later in organic chemistry. This instructor (R3) wrote:

“They may not understand VB theory in general chemistry but when I teach organic they will since it is the second time they have seen it. This type of positive reinforcement ultimately leads to the deeper understanding we hope will occur. I feel that the time I spend is worth the effort. I am unsure how much the student comprehends from this instruction.”

8. Objectives in Instruction

Although we did not ask the instructors directly what their principal objectives were for their chemistry instruction, we did inquire as to the importance that they gave to teaching fundamental models. We asked:

“What obligation do you feel that science instruction should include an introduction to the use of models in science and what a model means?”

In addition, several of the instructors volunteered their principal objectives as chemistry instructors in the course of responding to other questions.

Garik & Kelley (draft)page 9

NARST 2005

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