AP Chemistry Post-Exam Activity: Coordination Compounds & Complex Ions

coordination compounds and complex ions

I published an article about an independent study unit I use with my AP Chemistry class two years ago, A guided group inquiry lesson on coordination compounds and complex ions. In the time since it was published, I have expanded the unit quite a bit and written some new assignments to go along with it. I use this unit every year as a post AP activity and am very fond of it. I thought some of my readers might enjoy seeing how it has changed and get access to the new assignments I have developed for it.

I like having a great amount of flexibility with this unit. All of us who teach AP understand that being the first exam of the two week program, we are then faced with nine days of rotating absences on the part of our students. Some days we have no kids in class, maybe one, and maybe all of them. So I set this assignment up and then let them work at their own pace. I have lots of very good one on one discussions with the kids when they are ready. I encourage them to form groups of four students each to work on it and then allow quite a bit flexibility depending on who is actually in the room on any given day.

My new schedule runs for ten days instead of six. I now have four assignments that I have written that are part of it. The first is a vocabulary assignment that is a hybrid of old and new terms for the students. It starts off with a discussion of terms they should remember from the course and uses them to help bridge into the new material.

The second assignment is a nomenclature exercise for complex ions and coordination compounds. I have taken an interesting turn with it and made the first question to actually list the rules for naming these species.

The third assignment deals with the structure of complexes, coordination compounds, and their isomers. It is self guided and worked very well this year.

The fourth is a challenging assignment dealing with the formation and reactions of complexes. It is modeled very much after former AP Chemistry questions and Chemistry Olympiad semifinal exam questions that deal with complexes. I found this to be very enjoyable for one on one discussions with the students.

For the two experiments, you can find one that I previously posted Complex Ions Lab,  and the second is called “The Chemistry of Complex Ions” and you can purchase this as a kit from Flinn. 

Note: If considering using this lesson, I recommend reading my original article on the topic for background information. 

Supporting Information:

A Bonding Theory/ The Werner-Jorgensen Controversy, A Review of a two part simulation published in the Journal of Chemical Education November,1993.

Werner and Jørgensen Bond Theory Software Simulation - Requires a ChemEd X subscription.

The Evolution of Bond Theory-Requires a ChemEd X subscription.

Supporting Information: