Week 1

There are 24 students in my class. We divided into 7 groups. Five groups meet Monday afternoon, two groups meet on Wednesday afternoon. Each group received one second-semester organic chemistry topic: 1) Alcohols, 2) Diels-Alder, 3) Aldehydes/Ketones, 4) Esters, and 5) Carboxylic Acids. That’s the order of appearance of these topics in the semester. The students dove right in and started finding experiment candidates in my collection of lab manuals, online, and on the Journal of Chemical Education search. I realize that it was a stretch for students to be looking at experiments that addressed topics that they have not “covered” yet in OChem. They did well, navigating the maze of chemical equations, unfamiliar names, and experimental protocols. I liked the “anything goes” attitude they had about picking experiments that seemed interesting. I am already too prejudice when I look through experiments, “We can’t do that one because…” It will definitely be interesting. I was surprised that there were a lot of experiments available on the internet. If you take an experiment title out of a lab manual and Google it, you are likely to get several hits from instructors who have posted their experiments online. Also, microwave-assisted experiments seem to be very fashionable.

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