From Abstract to Manipulatable – The Hybridization Explorer, A Digital Interactive for Studying Orbitals

The abstract nature of atomic and hybrid orbitals makes it a challenging concept for students to understand. Presented is the Hybridization Explorer, a web-based interactive learning tool, for manipulating and experimenting with hybridization concepts. Through the explorer students can explore both the combination of atomic orbitals, and the visual representation of both atomic and hybrid orbitals and corresponding bond formation. Case studies from an undergraduate and graduate-level demonstration of the explorer are described. Finally, self-reported student confidence levels on solving hybridization questions both before and after use of the explorer are analyzed and discussed.