Exploring Functional Groups
In this simple exercise, students find functional groups on their own. They are instructed to examine molecular models, draw the structures in condensed form, and circle any functional groups (identified by the presence of O or N or both bonded to C). They are then to identify the functional groups using a table I provide them listing functional group names and structures. I am chiefly interested in alcohol, acid, ester, aldehyde, ketone, amino, and amide groups, since these are the ones that are dealt with in subsequent chapters. The models they use are aspartame, glyceraldehyde, serine, and acetoacetic acid.
I close the exercise by asking them peripheral questions such as: what is the commercial name and use for aspartame, what groups of compounds do serine and glyceraldehyde represent, and name another substance in the same group as glyceraldehyde.