I wanted an activity for students that would get them thinking about the shapes of molecules - and how they could connect this to their prior knoweldge of Lewis diagrams and chemical bonding. I use a CPGS model in my classroom where students work in group with defined roles to assure accounatbility (Recorder, speaker, motivator/ time checker).

VSEPR Theory: The Shapes of molecules

Warm Up

For this activity you need to work with a partner.  The diagrams below show the 3 dimensional shapes of some different molecules.  Your job is to describe the diagrams to your partner such that they can draw exact copies without seeing the original diagram.  Good luck!

 I had student begin with a warm up activity using white boards, and then used a video from Socratic (Tyler DeWitt) to introduce VSEPR shapes for linear, trigonal planar and tetrahedral molecules. I wanted them to learn about how to take notes from a video - I modeled this for them by creating a series of knoweldge based questions that would assist in this.

I wanted students to learn how to represent their 2D Lewis structures in a 3D way - and then learn the conventions used in VSEPR for both inorganic and organic molecules.

Follwing the video, I had students use PHET - an online physics simulation to determine the names, bond angles, shapes and effect of lone pairs on the cetral atom: I had them compare this to their initial ideas and drawings.




Varsha Patel's picture

Hi Jane,

l like your activity and was wondering if you could create a Word document so that l can effectively save it for future reference. Thank you.