Odyssey VSEPR App – Chemistry ipad App Review

The kind folks at Wavefunction Inc. have supplied me with their full Odyssey general chemistry app suite and I will be reviewing each of these apps throughout the remainder of summer 2014.

 

The first app I have chosen to review is the Odyssey VSEPR Theory app (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/odyssey-vsepr-theory/id869643629?mt=8), which sells in the app store for $3.99 CAD.

odyssey_vsepr_logo

Some Context:

Like many first year general chemistry courses, at VIU our CHEM 140/150 courses cover the concept of VSEPR theory, and how to determine Lewis structure, molecular shape and polarity. These are fundamental concepts which many students struggle with, perhaps due to the 3D nature of molecular shapes or perhaps due to the vector summation required to determine a net dipole moment. To give students experience with these skills, we have included a “dry lab activity” on Bonding and Structure over the past several years. One aspect of this activity is that students are asked to fill out a table (with the formatting shown below) for eight molecules.

 

Figure 1. CHEM 140 Drylab Table example.

Figure 1. CHEM 140 Drylab Table example.

Traditionally we bring model kits for the students to play around with, and have copies of the textbook available and opened to the relevant chapter. However, when I saw this app I was immediately excited that we could use it to improve this particular dry lab.

 

The App:

The interface is broken into two portions, an area where molecules are featured for manipulation, and an area that features both a table of generic geometries possible (broken down by the number of lone pairs and electron domains) and a bunch of example molecules.

 

Figure 2. VSEPR app 1.

Figure 2. VSEPR app 1.

 

In the molecule manipulation window, you can rotate the molecules in 3D with a swipe of your finger, or expand/shrink them with a pinch of the thumb and index finger. The molecule can be displayed as wire, ball and wire, tube, ball and spoke and space filling models.

Figure 3. Molecule representation options.

Figure 3. Molecule representation options.

 

As well, the lone pairs of the central atom and net molecular dipole moment arrow can be added or removed with a single click to each of the right most buttons. The distance between two atoms can be determined by clicking on the ruler, and selecting the distance option, then selecting the atoms of interest.

Figure 4. Distance and angle from ruler button.

Figure 4. Distance and angle from ruler button.

Figure 5. Distance calculated.

Figure 5. Distance calculated.

 

Similarly, the bond angle between three atoms can also be calculated by clicking on the ruler, and selecting the angle option, then selecting the atoms of interest.

 

Figure 6. Bond angle calculated.

Figure 6. Bond angle calculated.

 

There are questions pre-loaded into the app with multiple choice answers that force the user to work through several of the example molecules.

Figure 7. In app questions.

Figure 7. In app questions.

The responses can be automatically scored in the app, and after trying most of the questions there is the option to view the correct answers.

Figure 8. Question Scoring.

Figure 8. Question Scoring.

 

A glossary is also included, which defines several terms including: axial, dipole, dipole moment, equatorial, ligand, lone pair and VSEPR.

 

Figure 9. Glossary.

Figure 9. Glossary.

Impressions:

Although the app is limited to the “canned examples” included, there are a decent amount and they certainly cover the fundamentals explored in a typical discussion of VSEPR at the first year general chemistry level. I plan to use this app in the fall semester to highlight the 3D nature of molecular shape in my CHEM 140 lecture by hooking up my ipad mini to the project. If we are able to scrounge up a class set of ipads, I could see this replacing or enhancing the current pen-to-paper method used in the dry lab.

 

Disclosure:

The author received an evaluation copy of the software from Wavefunction Inc, but received no other compensation.

1 Comment

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One Response to Odyssey VSEPR App – Chemistry ipad App Review

  1. Kate Ricketts

    I like this Molecule editor for iPad “3D Molecules Edit & Test”

    Reviewed by Ciara Ní Dhrisceoil:
    ” Education in Chemistry.” (Royal Society of Chemistry,)

    “As a chemistry teacher of 16-18 year olds who use iPads in the
    classroom, I’m always looking for apps that allow students to
    construct molecules with 3D visualisation. 3D molecules edit&test is
    a very effective app for this purpose ….”
    http://www.rsc.org/education/eic/issues/2012September/book-review-september-2012.asp#3dmolecules

    This application allows to build and manipulate 3D molecular models of
    organic and inorganic compounds. The key feature of «3D Molecules Edit
    & Test» is the “Test yourself” mode that allows learners to check
    their knowledge of the 3D structure of molecules.

    This application allows to build and manipulate 3D molecular models of
    organic and inorganic compounds. The key feature of «3D Molecules Edit
    & Test» is the “Test yourself” mode that allows learners to check
    their knowledge of the 3D structure of molecules.

    The app is also great for any high school or college student in
    chemistry courses. Professionals will also find it very useful.

    One of the key feature of 3D Molecules Edit&Test is the “Test
    yourself” mode that allows learners to check their knowledge of
    chemistry and chemical compounds. For this mode you can create your
    own correct model of molecule and send it to students. Students can
    download this molecule verification file and use it for “Test
    yourself” mode.

    3D Molecules Edit&Test allows the users to open and view molecules in
    SDF or PDB format files, for example, from NCBI’s PubChem
    (http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov), a public database of compounds or
    from RCSB Protein Data Bank (http://www.rcsb.org/pdb).

    When you have finished building your molecule you can either open and
    save it in cloud services, like Dropbox, and third-party programs or
    sent by e-mail.

    FEATURES:
    • Building molecule model of any organic or inorganic compound using
    most of periodic table elements.
    • “Test yourself” mode to build the target chemical compounds.
    • Support of single, double and triple bonds.
    • Building molecule models of cyclic compounds.
    • Hints which provide information about what’s going wrong with the
    builded molecule.
    • Visualization of Wireframe style, Stick style, Ball and Stick,
    Spacefill (CPK) models.
    • Visualization of atomic orbitals and electron effects.
    • T-shaped and «seesaw» molecular geometries support.
    • Availability of information about the bond length and chemical
    element symbols in the molecule.
    • Bond-angle optimization.
    • Saving and sending the created model by e-mail.
    • Loading, editing and saving molecule in SDF file format.
    • Loading, editing and saving molecule in PDB file format.
    • Creating, sending and opening molecule verification file.
    • Export to VRML format for builded molecule.
    • Opening the molecule file attachments directly from Mail.
    • Opening and saving created molecules in cloud services and
    third-party applications.

    The app includes tutorial how to create and delete models.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/3d-molecules-edit-test/id907400810?mt=8

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