Introduction to Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry is fundamental for understanding biology and medicine. Organic chemistry is a main component of college coursework for anyone pursuing a degree in biology, bioengineering, chemistry, or chemical engineering, and it is often the subject that students report as the most challenging. Further, organic chemistry is usually the means by which pre-med students are weeded out. Finally, organic chemistry is a component of the US National Chemistry Olympiad. Despite all of this, AP chemistry classes don’t cover the fundamentals of organic chemistry, and students are normally not exposed to the subject before college.

This class will teach high school students the fundamentals of organic chemistry. Taking this class will give students an understanding of the structure and function of the molecules that form the basis for life, as well as medicines, poisons, flavors, smells, plastics, and more. Further, students will gain a competitive edge for organic chemistry classes in college, and any students planning on being pre-med will find the experience less stressful.

This class will introduce students to the most important concepts found in a typical college organic chemistry curriculum. This includes: steric interactions, stereochemistry, chair configurations, nucleophilicity/electrophilicity, substitution/elimination/addition reactions, carbonyl reactions, thermochemistry&kinetics, and aromatic chemistry. The purpose of this class is not to redundantly teach everything found in college courses, but to introduce students to the basics so that college courses are familiar, nonintimidating, and easy. The class will emphasize understanding concepts rather than memorization of reactions, which can be learned in a college course. Students are expected to have already taken AP chemistry or otherwise have a complete understanding of AP chemistry material. Class will include a balance of lecture, reading, and real assignments and exams from college courses. The required textbook is Organic Chemistry As a Second Language, 3e: First Semester Topics by David Klein.