Classroom Resources: Organic Chemistry


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  • Interdisciplinary, Polymers, Molecular Structure , Chemical Properties | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: Oversexed Moths Are Ruining Apples for Everyone Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video Oversexed Moths are Ruining Apples for Everyone from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates how the larvae of codling moths wreak havoc in orchards—burrowing into fruit and eating them from the inside out. Scientists are developing synthetic, species-specific pheromones as an alternative to pesticides. Pheromones are scented chemical messages that animals release at mating time and can help to prevent male codling moths from finding females to mate with. No mating means no eggs, no larvae and no more bad apples!

  • Interdisciplinary, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 8: Is the Answer to Overfishing… Algae?

    Omega-3s are an essential nutrient that humans have to get from fish. But many of the world’s wild fish species are in crisis because we’ve taken too many of them from the ocean. So the answer is to farm more of our fish, right? While fish-farming relieves some pressure on the ocean’s wild species, it also contributes to that pressure, since farmed fish are fed fishmeal made from wild-caught fish. That’s because fish don’t make their own Omega-3s either. Like us, they get them from their diet. Using technology that came out of the space program, scientists have developed a way to cut out the middle-fish from the food chain and harvest Omega-3s for fishmeal directly from the source: algae.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Polymers, Molecular Structure, Polymers, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 6: Kill More Germs by Cleaning … Less?

    There’s clean, and then there’s CLEAN. Even if something looks clean, it might still be harboring microbes – many of them harmless, some of them definitely not. With most of the ways that we clean and disinfect — that is, kill germs — the clean doesn’t last as long as you might think. Disinfectants work by attacking bacterial membranes and viral protein coats, breaking them down so that those germs fall apart and die. But the germaphobes were always right: As soon as a disinfectant dries, and a surface is re-exposed, like if someone touches or (worse) sneezes on it, it needs be disinfected all over again. The next generation of cleaning products, however, add a trick: they lay down an incredibly thin polymer layer that keeps the germ-killing ingredients in place and effective for 24 hours at a time.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Molecular Structure, Combustion, Molecular Structure | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 5: Making Shipping Greener with Hairy Ships

    The “fouling” of boats — when aquatic animals like barnacles and tubeworms attach to hulls — has been a nuisance for as long as we’ve been sailing the seas. Fouling messes up a vessel’s streamlined shape, decreasing its speed, maneuverability, and in modern times, its fuel-efficiency. Fouling spikes the carbon footprint of the shipping industry, already greater than that of most countries. For centuries, people used copper coatings to prevent fouling. Modern solutions use toxic chemical paints that pollute the water, kill marine life, and contribute to the degradation of our oceans when they wear off. A new approach is trying to work with nature instead of against it. Taking inspiration from the Salvinia plant, which is covered in tiny hair-like structures that make it basically waterproof, scientists are developing a stick-on silicone coating for ships that prevents animal hitchhikers from getting a foothold.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Polymers, Molecular Structure, Polymers, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: Kill More Germs by Cleaning … Less? Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, Kill More Germs by Cleaning… Less?, from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates the chemistry of cleaning. Unfortunately, clean doesn’t last as long as you might think—this video examines how disinfectants work and also how long they lasts. Scientists share about the next generation of cleaning products, that keeps the germ-killing ingredients in place and effective much longer.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Molecular Structure, Combustion, Molecular Structure | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: Making Shipping Greener with Hairy Ships Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, Making Shipping Greener with Hairy Ships, from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates the “fouling” of boats (when aquatic animals like barnacles and tubeworms attach to hulls), and the impact it has on fuel efficiency. Since fouling is a significant contributor to the carbon footprint, this video highlights how scientists were inspired by unique aquatic plants to develop a stick-on silicone coating for ships that prevents animal hitchhikers from getting a foothold.

  • Solubility, Polymers, Molecular Structure, Polymers, Molecular Structure | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: How Science Is Fixing Recycling's Grossest Problem Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, How Science is Fixing Recycling’s Grossest Problem, from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates the stinky problems associated with polypropylene recycling. Current polypropylene recycling techniques are more down-cycling than re-cycling, but a new technique, called dissolution recycling, is changing all that.

  • Physical Properties, Interdisciplinary, Lab Safety, Polymers, Heat, Temperature, Molecular Structure , Chemical Properties | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 3: This Sandwich Will Save Your Life in an Arc Flash

    It’s never fun when your clothes catch on fire. And while “stop, drop, and roll” may be a good idea sometimes, in more extreme cases, you need a better plan. Every day, industrial workers, firefighters, and soldiers risk fiery situations that might seem hard to imagine. In an arc flash event, for one, temperatures can jump to metal-melting levels in milliseconds. How can anyone possibly survive that? Well, take a tip from a club sandwich, because it’s all about the layers. The composite fabrics that protect life and limb in these situations rely on some incredible, multilayered chemistry, including the ability to quickly form a protective carbonaceous crust around the wearer.

  • Solubility, Polymers, Molecular Structure, Polymers, Molecular Structure | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 4: How Science Is Fixing Recycling's Grossest Problem

    Polypropylene recycling has a problem: It stinks. Food and other residues are almost impossible to remove entirely from polypropylene, a.k.a the number “5” plastic of grocery-store fame. Those residues – anything from yogurt to garlic, from fish oil to baby food – not only stick to polypropylene, they degrade there and start to smell even worse! Current polypropylene recycling techniques are more down-cycling than re-cycling. Unless you break down its molecules through a highly energy-intensive refining process, the material can only get a second life as a black trash can or an underground pipe – wherever its smell doesn’t matter. But a new technique, called dissolution recycling, is changing all that. Dissolution recycling uses a special hydrocarbon polymer solvent under finely controlled conditions of temperature and pressure to eliminate ALL of the contaminants embedded in the plastic.

  • Molecular Structure, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Molecular Structure , Chemical Bond | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: What Birds Know About Color that You Don't Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, What Birds Know about Color that You Don’t, from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates structural color, its complexities as well as how it differs from pigments and dyes.

  • Molecular Structure, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Molecular Structure , Chemical Bond | High School

    Video: Ingenious Video 2: What Birds Know About Color that You Don't

    We’ve been using pigments and dyes for thousands of years, but they’re not the whole story when it comes to making color. “Structural” color occurs when tiny nanostructures interact with light waves, amplifying certain colors and canceling others. From brilliant bird feathers to butterfly wings, mole hairs to octopus skin, structural color is everywhere in the natural world. Researchers have tried for years to harness this incredible natural phenomenon in a useful way. Because these colors are so small and complex, and therefore hard to copy, their efforts have met with little success. But novel research using a computer model based in repeated random sampling — a so-called “Monte Carlo” model — is showing promise. Using this approach, scientists have been able to mimic the gorgeous blue of the mountain bluebird in a thin film of reflective beads, leapfrogging millennia of evolution.

  • Molecular Formula, Molecular Structure, Measurements, Significant Figures, Molecular Structure , Saturated vs. Unsaturated | Middle School, High School

    Project: Discovering Chemical Elements in Food

    In this project, students will analyze nutrition labels of some of the foods and drinks that they recently consumed. They will identify which type of macromolecule (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins) is mainly supplied by the item and they will compare their consumption with the daily recommended intake for that type of macromolecule. Students will also investigate salt and added sugar as well as vitamins and minerals in the item. Finally, students will present their findings through short, spoken messages that are recorded and presented through a QR code. These can become a source of information for the school community at large upon completion of the project.

  • Interdisciplinary, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups | High School

    Activity: Ingenious: Is the Answer to Overfishing… Algae? Video Questions

    In this activity, students will answer questions while watching the video, Is the Answer to Overfishing… Algae? from the Ingenious series produced by the American Chemical Society. Each episode investigates a different topic related to how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. This episode investigates Omega-3’s, the essential nutrient that humans have to get from fish. However, fish don’t make their own Omega-3’s, and like humans, must get them from an important part of their diet, algae. But with over-fishing considerations and fish-farming limitations, scientists are working to develop a new way to harvest Omega-3’s to maintain stability.

  • Interdisciplinary, Chemical Change, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups, Experimental Design | High School

    Lab: Designing Biomimetic Songbird Preen Oil from Waste Cooking Oil

    In this guided-inquiry lab, students will design and test a procedure reacting waste cooking oil in a blue cheese slurry to create a substance that mimics songbird preen oil, which is both antibacterial and hydrophobic. Students will convert the fatty acids in waste oil to methyl ketones, thought to be the principal antibacterial component of preen oil, using the P. roqueforti mold found in blue cheese. Students will expand their knowledge of biomimicry, inherent properties of preen oil, and chemical synthesis by applying the principles of green chemistry. They will also assess their own process through higher-order problem solving and building on their scientific research skills.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups | High School

    Lab: The Chemistry of Hand Sanitizer and Soap

    In this lab, students will model the interaction between hand sanitizer particles and virus particles, as well as between soap particles and virus particles. They will apply their understanding of molecular structure and intermolecular forces to analyze their observations and behavior of the particles, in order to gain a better understanding of how soaps and sanitizers work.

  • Review, Culminating Project, Molecular Structure | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Online Meeting Scavenger Hunt

    In this activity, students will work in teams on a virtual meeting platform to find as many objects as possible from a comprehensive scavenger hunt list within their homes during a given timeframe. The items on the list provided in this activity are related to organic chemistry topics, however the list can be easily modified for use with many chemistry topics.

  • Naming Compounds, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure | High School

    Activity: Naming Alkanes

    In this activity, students will learn how to name simple organic structures including alkanes, branched alkanes and haloalkanes.

  • Intermolecular Forces, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure | High School

    Lab: Intermolecular Attractions in Organic Liquids

    In this lab, students will analyze the molecular structure of substances in order to predict how different types of intermolecular attractions will affect the boiling points of various organic liquids. Students will then complete laboratory testing in order to collect data and compare their results with their predictions.

  • Polymers, Combustion, Heat, Exothermic & Endothermic, Heat of Combustion, Molecular Structure | High School

    Activity: The Internal Combustion Engine Video Questions

    In this activity, students will watch a video and answer related questions about the mechanical and chemical processed used in the internal combustion engine. Additionally they will learn about reactions and fuel types as well as the history and evolution of the combustion engine.

  • Balancing Equations, Molecular Structure , Functional Groups | High School

    Lab: Esterfication

    In this lab, students will make at least six esters from different combinations of available organic acids and alcohols. In addition, they will attempt to identify the scent of each ester that is created.

  • Physical Properties, Intermolecular Forces, Polarity, Physical Change, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure , Chemical Properties, Molecular Geometry | High School

    Lesson Plan: An Exploration of Intermolecular Forces

    In this lesson students will explore intermolecular forces, and their associated effect on physical and chemical properties. Students will experiment with volatile liquids to investigate their predictions about intermolecular strength.

  • Naming Compounds, Introduction, Interdisciplinary, Molecular Formula, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure , Chemical Bond | Middle School, High School

    Activity: Modeling Carbohydrates

    In this activity, students will identify that organic compounds contain carbon and other elements such as hydrogen and oxygen. They will investigate the structure of different organic and inorganic compounds and model several molecules, including a carbohydrate molecule. They will use their models to help understand how larger molecules are broken down into smaller molecules.

  • Pharmaceuticals, Molecular Structure | High School

    Project: Organic Chemistry

    In this research project, students will demonstrate their knowledge of stereochemistry and present its role in well-known pharmaceutical compounds.

  • History, Periodic Table, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure , Molecular Geometry | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Video: Phosphorous Video

    In this video, Sam Kean tells the story of how phosphorus was at the center of the race to discover the structure of DNA.

  • Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Melting Point, Intermolecular Forces, Phase Changes, Isomers, Distillation, Molecular Structure, Intermolecular Forces, Molecular Structure , Boiling Point, Molecular Geometry, Isomers | High School

    Lesson Plan: Structural Isomers

    In this activity, students will use models to explore structural isomers, and create explanations for the impact of structure on intermolecular forces (London dispersion) and physical properties (boiling point).

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Subtopics: Molecular Structure

Grade Level: High School

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