Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teaching Resources

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Christodoulos Makedonas
Model Lyceum of Evangelical School of Smyrna
teacher involved
ChemSketch 12
Topics related to the resource
Structure of organic compounds, stereochemistry, functional groups, organic nomenclature
Examples of learning objectives
• Drawing structural, skeletal, stereochemical and 3D formulas of organic compounds.
• The study of the tetrahedral structure of tetravalent carbon in alkanes.
• The study of ring strain in single ring cycloalkanes.
• Nomenclature of alkanes.
Practical information regarding the use
of the site/simulation...
• ACD ChemSketch is a drawing package software produced and distributed by ACDLabs. There are two versions available a commercial and a free one. The freeware version can be downloaded from the aforementioned URL and allows the drawing of chemical structures including organics, organometallics, polymers, and Markush structures. It also includes features such as calculation of molecular properties (e.g. molecular weight, density, molar refractivity etc.), 2D and 3D structure cleaning and viewing, functionality for naming structures (fewer than 50 atoms and 3 rings), and prediction of logP.
• The software is distributed only in the English language.
• It is very user friendly.
• It contains templates of several types of molecules.
• It can be easily employed for the production of chemical equations and for the preparation of laboratory manual, since there are also templates for lab equipment and instruments.
Information about the class
Model Evangelical School of Smyrna, Lyceum (Upper secondary schoo), first grade (15 y.o.), 21 students.
The software was tested for 4 school hours (45 min.) and the students’ chemistry knowledge was of the average and above level.
Suggestion for use
• One of the goals was the students themselves to learn how to use this very useful software. Thus, one of the IT classrooms of the school was used (13 PCs), while 8 students brought their own laptops/tablets. On the other hand, it can be easily employed for demonstration purposes in a normal classroom or chemistry lab.
• A worksheet was necessary, which apart from the main objectives of the lessons also covered the need for a manual in the Greek language.
Insights into student
use / thinking
- Before testing the resource
A questionnaire was provided to the students prior to the lessons. To summarize the results:
• 17/21 students claimed that they can very easily/easily work in a Windows environment and use a Word processor software.
• All of them have used a drawing software of any kind.
• 15/21 have tested ChemSketch prior to the lessons.
• 18/21 claimed that they can distinguish an organic from an inorganic compound (in the previous school years chemistry lessons focused mainly on inorganic chemistry)
• 20/21 students have never heard something about the stereochemistry of chemical compounds.
• 16/21 did not know what a tetrahedron is.
• 19/21 did not know which are the platonic solids.
• 20/21 usually/often play with the available (in the lesson’s CMS) chemistry simulations.
• 20/21 would like the natural sciences lessons to contain more simulations and make a wider use of PC capabilities.

- After testing the resource
• Students, with the aid of the provided worksheet/manual, found the drawing of 3D chemical structures both interesting and amusing.
• They didn’t find a significant difficulty in measuring bond lengths, bond angles and dihedral angles.
• Students manage to derive assumptions that correlated cycloalkanes ring strain with the provided relative heats of combustion.
• Students successfully employed the “Generate Name for Structure” functionality in order to derive the names of the organic molecules under study and on the same time to evaluate their own knowledge of alkanes’ nomenclature.

In order to reveal the students’ opinion on this resource another questionnaire was provided at the end of the 4 lessons. To summarize the results:
• 16/21 students found the resource extremely interesting and 5/21 found it simply interesting.
• “3D Viewer” and “Generate Name for Structure” functionalities were the software’s strongest points.
• All of them found the software user friendly.
• All of them (but not to the same degree) intend to employ ChemSketch in the future in order to study the stereochemistry of chemical and biochemical compounds.
Teacher’s conclusions
• The software is a valuable tool in teaching stereochemistry (along with ball and stick molecular models) and nomenclature.
• The students found the software easy to use and interesting.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.