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Organic molecules

Content objective:

What are we learning and why are we learning this? Content, procedures, or skills.

Vocabulary objective

Tier II: High frequency words used across content areas. Key to understanding directions & relationships, and for making inferences.

Tier III: Low frequency, domain specific terms.

Building on what we already know

Make connections to prior knowledge. This is where we build from.


Alcohols: Any organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (-O H) is bound to a saturated carbon atom.

The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol ethyl alcohol (ethanol), the alcohol in alcoholic beverages.


Methanol, wood alcohol,  methyl alcohol – CH3OH (MeOH).
The simplest alcohol

Ethanol, ethyl alcohol, drinking alcohol – produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts. – CH3CH2OH C2H5OH, EtOH

Isopropyl alcohol


Used widely as a solvent and as a cleaning fluid, especially for dissolving oils.

Chemical reaction involving alcohol

Dehydration Synthesis : how to make pear flavoring.

propyl alcohol + and acetic acid -> H2O + Propyl acetate ( CH3COOCH2CH2CH3)

Here are 3 ways of representing the molecules

Top row = space-filled models. They show the space that each atom takes up.

Middle row = structural formula -> shows the atoms and approximate structure

Bottom row = skeletal structure. Chains of C atoms are simply drawn as lines (every bend in a line is a C. C atoms also at end of line, if no other element indicated. Less accurate shape, but easy to draw.

Here we see how one makes propyl ethanoate

Learning Standards

Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Biology

8. MS-PS1-1. Develop a model to describe that (a) atoms combine in a multitude of ways to produce pure substances which make up all of the living and nonliving things that we encounter, (b) atoms form molecules and compounds that range in size from two to thousands of atoms, and (c) mixtures are composed of different proportions of pure substances.

Clarification Statement: Examples of molecular-level models could include drawings, three-dimensional ball and stick structures, and computer representations showing different molecules with different types of atoms.

HS-LS1-6. Construct an explanation based on evidence that organic molecules are primarily composed of six elements, where carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms may combine with nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus to form monomers that can further combine to form large carbon-based macromolecules.
Clarification Statements:
• Monomers include amino acids, mono- and disaccharides, nucleotides, and fatty acids.
• Organic macromolecules include proteins, carbohydrates (polysaccharides), nucleic acids, and lipids.

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