Introducing Mini-laboratory Projects Based on Name Reactions in Organic Chemistry for the Sophomore Organic Chemistry Laboratory

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Conference Proceeding

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Despite the accepted pedagogical value of integrating research into the laboratory curriculum, this approach has not been widely adopted. There are many challenges to this change, especially in organic chemistry, where a large number of students are required to take the course, special glassware or setups may be needed, and dangerous chemicals and safety are of special concern. At St. John Fisher College, organic chemistry laboratory curriculum has been revamped by incorporating mini-lab projects based on organic chemistry name reactions, in order to foster increased independence and confidence in a laboratory environment. The projects can be incorporated under limited facilities, still giving students a ‘research-like’ experience. After introducing chemistry literature search using SciFinder, a name reaction is assigned to each student early in the semester. Students are first required to write an introduction including a literature review of the assigned name reaction. Students are then given a short experimental protocol which they use as the basis for developing their experimental plan which includes the reagents, major techniques, purification and characterization methods and waste disposal procedures. Students have two to three weeks to complete the project and submit a formal laboratory report including an introduction with the literature review, an experimental section, a complete discussion of their results and list of references.


Presented at 252nd National Conference of American Chemical Society, Philadelphia, PA, August 2016.

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