Qualitative Analysis of Interactive 3D models for Learning E2 Reaction Stereochemistry

Philip Janowicz, California State University Fullerton
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This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


In this tutorial, students self-navigate through a series of pages that teach the stereochemistry of the E2 reaction in organic chemistry. Each page contains text, a color-coded line drawing, and an interactive Jmol. Students use each of the representations to help construct the difficult knowledge themselves, and students should be able to learn this difficult topic much more easily than if the 3D models were not present.

Learning Goals

Students should learn the concept of reaction stereochemistry and the three-dimensional relationship between models of the same compounds. Students' spatial ability is honed by using this exercise.

Context for Use

This tutorial is appropriate as supplemental material for any organic chemistry course. The only requirement is that Java is installed on the browser. Students should have already learned the basics of stereochemistry before attempting this tutorial.

Description and Teaching Materials

This activity is self-paced and available on the Chemical Education Digital Library (http://chemeddl.org). The final home of the 6-page lesson is available for free here ( http://moodle.chemeddl.org/mod/lesson/view.php?id=4586)

Teaching Notes and Tips

The best tip is to give this tutorial to the students as homework BEFORE it is discussed in class. That way, students will be more familiar with the topics when they are discussed.


Students were given a qualitative assessment, and 10 out of 12 students mentioned positive outcomes for the use of 3D models in the tutorial. They also liked that the line drawings were placed next to the appropriate 3D models.

References and Resources

The ChemEd DL Summit Resource Course (http://moodle.chemeddl.org/course/view.php?id=78) 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) 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.