Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Organic Chemistry Overview

We are trying a slightly different way of covering the last part of our topic, and preparing for our exam at the same time. Organic Chemistry is based around seven types of compounds and the relationships between them. Here is an overview of the process. This is a "living document" and will be added to over the rest of the week...

DESCRIBE the Compounds

I prepared some SOLO Taxonomy hexagons containing the names of the seven types of compounds we have studied (or need to study this week). There is a great hexagon generator on Pam Hook's website.

The students spent today cutting them out and writing "study notes" on the back on them. They have been given absolute freedom to choose:
  • the order to fill them out in
  • how much detail to include on each card
  • whether to work individually or to collaborate

EXPLORE the Compounds

Our trolley of chemicals for the remainder of the unit.
I have given the students some page references from our textbook, Beginning Chemistry (Wignall and Wales) and some experiments they may choose to carry out. I have directed them to past examination papers and provided PowerPoints on Moodle, our Learning Management System. I have asked the technician to prepare a trolley with all of the possible chemicals (that I can think of) required to explore these compounds. The students have access to NetBooks, if they want them. I have made videos and blogposts to direct the learning.

My students have been challenged with the following "ultimate" outcomes:
  1. Can you find (and explain) all the possible links between these compounds? CONNECT the hexagons in such a way that this is represented visually. I will challenge you to justify why certain hexagons are touching!
  2. Can you EXPAND on every bullet-point/note on the back of each card? I will challenge you to do this over the next few lessons!
  3. I am going to choose any two hexagons at random. Can you FIND a link between them, even if it is via another hexagon? Can you explain how I would tell those two compounds apart? Can you tell me how to turn one of them into the other?
One student's idea of the links between each type of compound.


I will write this next week, once I have talked to students about their learning and seen their assessment results... Watch this space.

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