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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 7 Issue 6 (2002) pp 376-378

Student-Designed Multistep Synthesis Projects in Organic Chemistry

Kate J. Graham,* Chris P. Schaller, Brian J. Johnson, and John B. Klassen

Chemistry Department, College of Saint Benedict/Saint Johnís University, St. Joseph, MN 56374
Received June 28, 2002. Accepted September 3, 2002

Published online: 27 September 2002

Abstract. The incorporation of research projects into undergraduate chemistry courses provides a perspective that is fundamentally unavailable in most laboratory experiences. While independent, multistep synthesis projects in organic chemistry have been reported previously, most efforts have been directed at relatively restricted, closely guided research plans with modest student participation in the experimental design. We have implemented a more open-ended synthesis project, limited principally by cost, safety and availability of materials. In the second semester of the sophomore organic sequence, students develop multiple drafts of a plan for a three-to-four-step synthesis. Subsequently, students obtain their own literature protocols for the individual steps. The synthesis is performed over three four-hour laboratory periods. The students conclude this project with a poster presentation of the results at the end of the semester. Evaluation of the studentsí work focuses not only on the successful synthesis of the target but also on planning, troubleshooting, purification, and spectral analysis.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; organic chemistry; natural product isolation; pulegone; 2D-NMR; herbal medicine

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (168 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Student Handout (Zip format 46 KB) 10.1007/s00897020612b

Issue date: December 1, 2002

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