# Beyond Bohr

Learning quantum concepts in chemistry can be hard – so can teaching it! This page is dedicated to resources and materials developed to support teachers in presenting a modern approach to teaching quantum concepts at the introductory level.

#### The challenge of teaching quantum concepts

Mental models for scientific learning are important cognitive tools that students use to not only take in new information, but to help problem solve in new contexts. If conceptual parts are inaccurate, then the resulting models will not be useful. For conceptual change to occur, we as instructors must recognize the students’ incorrect and incomplete models and help them to accommodate the accepted model. From prior studies, it is clear that novice students retain substantial inaccuracies and misconceptions about the nature of atoms, even after completing college-level chemistry. Some of the most resilient misconceptions of atomic structure involve electron particles moving on a set path – like planets in an orbit or in orbiting shells.

Most of these misconceptions arise from classical analogies and misleading metaphors used in instruction and textbooks, including teaching the Bohr model first and moremost. We propose an alternative approach to teaching introductory students about light-matter interactions at the atomic level that: focuses on quantum field nature of electrons and light, meets all of the traditional learning outcomes (and more), does not rely on an overly mathematical approach (and nothing beyond high school algebra), and has been shown to be accessible for both non-majors and majors at the college level (including a course in science for non-science majors).

#### Beyond Bohr – Teaching Materials (updated: August 2022)

This project continues to grow, and we are excited by all of the interest from chemistry educators across the globe. Below are some exciting materials that chemistry instructors can use in their courses (both college general chemistry and high school) for teaching atomic theory with a modern, orbital-focused approach. If there’s something that you’re looking for, but you can’t find it here, please let us know – we will work to make it available to you!

##### Question-embedded videos for teaching atomic theory

Question-embedded videos (QEVs) are exciting teaching tools that have been shown to be more effective than traditional textbook readings (read about that here!) or traditional/narrative videos (read about that here!).

We have prepared a series of 19 videos that guide students along the path of learning about the atomic world. All of the videos can be accessed on YouTube (Abrams Research Group channel) or on Edpuzzle (use open course: omnuusu).

The videos currently include (updated: August 2022):

- Ionization energy: an early clue that something is afoot!
- Particle-wave duality: an outdated notion that things belong in binary boxes
- Light and its properties
- Resonance: interactions of matter and light
- Absorption of light by electrons
- How much energy does it cost? A photon of light energy
- Electrons in atoms behave as standing waves (the principal quantum number)
- Standing waves can have different shapes (the Azimuthal quantum number)
- The Bohr model: an equation that works for one-electron atoms
- Calculating absorption and emission wavelengths
- Emission spectra
- The photoelectric effect
- Photoionization
- Hydrogen-like atomic ions
- More electron wave properties
- The magnetic quantum number
- The magnetic spin quantum number
- Why is Li 1s2 2s1? (shielding)
- Hund’s rule

##### Workshop materials from BCCE 2022

The following materials were distributed at the Skipping Bohr workshop at BCCE 2022. We hope to offer free, remote workshops on these materials in the near future. Sign-up below to get more information about upcoming workshops and learning opportunities.

- Hydrogen atom family album: concepts and pictures of the 3D standing electron waves of the hydrogen atom (the principal and azimuthal quantum numbers). Also, a summary handout of H atom orbitals.
- Worksheet on H atom orbitals: a worksheet for students to work through concepts relating to hydrogen atom electron waves/orbitals, including resolving common misconceptions.
- Dry lab on atomic absorption and emission: using free Wolfram CDF simulations, students examine absorption and emission of light by electron waves. Concepts involve resonance, Rabi oscillations, and photon energy. The dry lab uses two CDF files: 1s-to-2p and 2p-to-3d.
- Two more quantum numbers: a reference resource for all four quantum numbers, what they mean, and reconciling the historical language.
- Shielding worksheet and reference: a pictorial explanation of why lithium’s third electron is 2s and not 2p.
- Worksheet on multi-electron atoms: students put together their knowledge of quantum numbers in multi-electron atoms to explain periodic trends.

##### Textbook alternative (v0.1)

Looking for a “textbook” alternative for teaching about light/matter interactions or atomic theory? Try these!

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