Jo Dec 5, 2022

Complex chemistry is an interdisciplinary discipline that elucidates the mechanism of the reaction of inorganic materials, including catalysts, in organic synthesis reactions and theoretically guarantees the development of more appropriate catalysts. Therefore, instructors should focus on experimental education to help student understand more vividly the chemical phenomena occurring in the microscopic world.

Ri Su Ryon, a researcher at the Faculty of Applied Chemistry, developed a virtual laboratory and a structural design support program of complexes that can provide conditions similar to actual experiments needed for complex chemistry. She has been using them to enhance the students’ faculties of analysis and structural design of complexes.

To this end, unlike previous lectures that relied solely on teacher’s explanation, she touches only important things in the lectures and gives secondary things as an assignment. She organizes experiments for application and independent structural design for the influence of factors so that they can learn everything by themselves.

Let us go through her teaching steps for crown ether metal complexes.

First of all, she touched key points only on the basis of enough self-learning.

She presented questions to be discussed in a pointed lecture as a preparation task and asked them to conduct virtual experiments related to their application in groups in advance.

On the basis of this, she led the students to draw new concepts from the similarities and differences in the structure and combination with metal ions in comparison with chain ligands, a chelating agent similar to crown ether.

Second, she developed her students’ analysis faculty through virtual experiments.

The group experiments conducted to dissolve potassium permanganate, an inorganic oxidant that can replace organic oxidant, in an organic solvent were shown for students to find faults. Then, she explained good points of the best one so that students could consolidate what they had learnt in the gist lecture. After that, she asked them to analyze by themselves the essence of the chemical phenomena occurring in the test tube by augmented reality technology.

Third, the structural design program was employed to enhance students’ independent structural design abilities.

She created a situation of which crown ether should be selected to separate Rh+ ions with a size similar to K+ ions from acetic acid solutions, allowing students to identify them based on what they had learned in the virtual laboratory.

Understanding the reason for differences in the stability constants of the 18-c-6 complexes of potassium and rhodium with very similar ionic radii and the need to modify the structure of the crown ether according to the nature of metal ions, each group was asked to propose a structure design and present it.

Finally, practical questions were presented to assess students’ abilities of analysis, judgment and overall systematization and each student’s performance was examined through the complex chemistry assessment system.

As mentioned above, while choosing reagents, performing experiments, finding out problems and learning how to draw conclusions all by themselves, the students’ abilities of creative thinking and practice have been significantly increased.