Symmetry

         

Symmetry is an important topic in chemistry. It is a determining factor for many of the chemical's physical and reactive properties, and is therefore a topic that should be touched upon even in first year chemistry.

 

Suggested activity#1:

            If you take a look at the structures in the database, you will find that there are many molecules that are obviously symmetrical:

 

          And some that are obviously not:

 

 

          But if you take a closer look, you will find that it is actually pretty hard to find molecules that don't have a plane of symmetry or an axis of rotation. Even the really large, complicated ones are almost always symmetrical:

 

 

 

          So, the activity we suggest, is simply to make an assignment or a class activity centered around finding molecules that are symmetrical. I used the "full database" in this case, and searched by shape. The database is great for this because the molecules rotate in all directions, and its easy to find planes of rotation, and to visualize the symmetry.