P749b: Molecular modeling with WebMO as in inquiry based introduction to atomic orbitals
The topic of atomic orbitals does not lend itself easily to inquiry based lessons or activities, especially at the high school level where advanced laboratory resources are limited. This presentation describes an inquiry based approach to introducing key concepts such as principal energy levels, energy sublevels, degenerate orbitals and orbital shapes using the molecular modeling program WebMO. By using this free, online program, students can calculate energy values and orbital shapes for an atom. Three different levels of inquiry analysis have been developed, ranging from heavily guided to more open ended. The depth of inquiry can be tailored to suit a variety of classroom academic and technological environments.