Applying Handheld 3D Printing Technology to the Teaching of VSEPR Theory




Dean, Natalie
Ewan, Corrina
McIndoe, J. Scott

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The use of handheld 3D printing technology provides a unique and engaging approach to learning VSEPR theory by enabling students to draw three-dimensional depictions of different molecular geometries, giving them an appreciation of the shapes of the building blocks of complex molecular structures. Students are provided with 3D printing pens and two dimensional templates which allows them to construct three dimensional ABS models of the basic VSEPR shapes. We found that the learning curve associated with manipulating the pen accurately and the time required to draw a structure is sufficiently high that this exercise would need to be limited in a laboratory setting to students each being tasked with drawing a different molecule; however, in the correct setting, handheld 3D printing pens are a potentially powerful tool for the teaching of VSEPR theory.



First-Year Undergraduate, General, High School, Introductory Chemistry, Collaborative, Cooperative Learning, Hands-On Learning, Manipulatives, VSEPR Theory


Dean, N. L., Ewan, C., & McIndoe, S. (2016). Applying hand-held 3D printing technology to the teaching of VSEPR theory. Journal of Chemical Education, 93(9), 1660-1662.