Organic Model Exercise:
An Adventure in Structure and Bonding
Dr. Gergens - Mesa College
Organic chemistry is the study of compounds that contain the element of carbon; compounds that do not contain carbon are termed inorganic.
Carbon is singled out as a branch of chemistry because of the tremendous number of compounds it forms.
While there are about 200,000 known
inorganic compounds, there are over 6 million known compounds of carbon.
While organic chemistry is the study of the compounds of carbon,
biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of living organisms.
Organic compounds are found in all living organisms, foods (fats, proteins and
carbohydrates), fuels (petroleum), wood, paper, fabrics, plastics, dyes, paints, cosmetics, drugs, medicines, insecticides, herbicides, soaps, and
Organic compounds can be classified according to their structural features.
The structural features that make it possible to classify compounds
by reactivity are called functional groups.
In this experiment you will familiarize yourself with the structures of functional groups shown in
Chapter 3 of the McMurry text.
The use hand-held models will aid you in this task.
Many studies have shown that tactile (touch) learning far
outweighs visual absorption of this sort of information.
Start by reviewing Chapter 3 in your McMurry text.
For this exercise, pay particular attention to the naming of the general classification of
Your instructor will discuss structural isomerism, geometric isomerism, and chirality for aliphatic and cyclic compounds
covered in Chapter 3 in laboratory.
This project is composed of three parts:
Part A - covalencey; Part B - functional group classification and their three-dimensional representations
through the use of hand held models; and Part C - working with structural, geometric, and optical isomerism.
While working on this exercise,
you may hand draw the structures and answer questions in pencil.
However, your may be required to turn in your answers to the following
questions as a word processed document.
Data sheets to word process this assignment are available for download from the web site at
You will use a model kit to build each functional group.
This will greatly assist you in visually seeing the three-dimensional perspective of
organic compounds drawn on a two-dimensional piece of paper.
For example, dimethylether drawn below can be drawn with a 2-D and 3-D
If drawn in 2-D, the molecule appears to be linear.
In actuality, the ether has a bent structure about the oxygen atom.