Teaching Ideas

Use the Symmetry Gallery as a lecture aid - The Symmetry Gallery is designed to scale to fill your computer screen regardless of the resolution. This makes it ideal for projecting in a classroom to demonstrate symmetry elements and symmetry operations. These are concepts that are difficult to communicate using words, hand drawings and even physical models in some cases (although I would recommend using all of these). These pages are compatible with both Mac and PC, so it should be easy to use regardless of your local computer configuration.

Use the Symmetry Tutorial as a supplement to your lecture or textbook - It's easy to point your students to the Symmetry Tutorial to give them an alternate presentation of the material that you may already cover in lecture or in readings.

Use the Symmetry Challenge to help your students practice point group determination - The Symmetry Challenge guides the user through a flow chart (which you can download as a pdf), providing both written and visual feedback at every step. The flow chart is more detailed than those presented in many commonly-used textbooks, but is broken down into many simple steps.

Create computer images for your presentations or printed material. For higher quality (anti-aliased) images, just click on the preferences button and select the Antialiased Display checkbox. Or for extra pizzazz, select the gradient background. (Note: both of these selections will slow down the graphics when you try and rotate or zoom the structure.)

Use your own molecules - Thanks to the work of Bob Hanson, Jmol now has the ability to calculate the point group of any molecule. Download the Jmol application from the Jmol web site. Load your favorite molecule (Jmol understands many different formats) and type commands such as calculate pointgroup or draw pointgroup. For more information about Jmol scripting commands see the Jmol Interactive Script Documentation page. Note: Jmol is not a structure drawing program, so you will need to use another program such as Hyperchem or Spartan if you want to create your own structures.

Send me your own ideas and suggestions! - If you are a teacher and use any of these pages in your classes, please any comments on how you have made use of my materials. Thank you!