P661: Mechanistic organization of introductory organic chemistry material for a biological emphasis course
The organization of material taught in most organic chemistry courses follows a functional group approach, whereby reactions are classified based on the functional group involved. Most textbooks are also organized in this way, grouping reactions according to functional group, for example chapters on the reactions of aldehydes and ketones, alkenes, and alkyl halides. This organization tends to place emphasis on memorization of the reaction types that a given functional group can undergo, instead of the mechanisms by which these reactions occur. Understanding mechanisms is key to understanding organic chemistry. With a solid understanding of mechanisms in organic chemistry, students will be able to extend these fundamental concepts to the chemistry that occurs in biological systems. We are currently working toward re-organizing introductory organic chemistry material by mechanism, rather than functional group, in a way that will facilitate the understanding of biological mechanisms in an introductory biological emphasis organic chemistry two-semester course sequence.