Molecular Geometry Laboratory

Mark Wathen
Snow College
Ephraim, UT


This molecular geometry laboratory utilizes both Lewis structures and computer models using Models 360. Students will explore shape and polarity as they manipulate three-dimensional molecular structures. The resource includes a brief introduction, pre-lab assignment, procedure and data tables for students to use.

Learning Goals

The goals for this activity is to help students develop a mental model of the geometry of molecules and polarity.

Context for Use

This activity is designed as a laboratory activity, but could also be used as a stand-alone activity. The only requirement for this lab is internet access. This activity is best implemented following a discussion on Lewis structures, but before VSEPR theory instruction. This lab provides a way for students to explore molecular geometry and and begin to develop a mental molecular model.

Description and Teaching Materials

This laboratory activity can be found in both pdf and Word format at:

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find Molecular Geometry.


The author of this lab has used traditional methods of assessment for this activity. Questions regarding molecular geometry and polarity are incorporated into a final laboratory exam.

References and Resources

This laboratory uses Models 360, a resource part of the Chemical Education Digital Library (ChemEd DL).

The ChemEd DL Summit Resource Course ( houses all of the submissions from two-year and four-year college faculty members who have designed resources using the Chem Ed DL (Chemical Educational Digital Library at for use in organic chemistry and general chemistry classrooms and laboratories.

This resource is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. NSF-DUE 1044239 and NSF-DUE 0937796. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.