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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 285-289

Students’ Understanding of Electronic Effects in an Introductory Organic Chemistry Course

Veljko Dragojlovic

Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, 5353 Parkside Drive, Jupiter, FL 33458, USA,
Received February 17, 2010. Accepted April 9, 2010.

Published: 31 July 2010

Abstract. As students in an introductory organic chemistry course need to master a vast amount of complex material their success depends to a large extent on their ability to generalize. In a typical organic chemistry course a considerable amount of time is devoted to study of role of electronic effects in an electrophilic aromatic substitution. Therefore, it is not surprising that most students acquire a good command of that subject. However, some students learn it “too well” and assume that the same effects operate when a reactant contains an aromatic structure regardless of the reactivity center and the reaction mechanism. A sequence of three laboratory exercises involving electrophilic aromatic substitution, nucleophilic carbonyl addition and nucleophilic carbonyl substitution along with classroom exercises has been designed to address students’ misconceptions.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry; ligand substitution reaction; spectroscopy; math modeling; micro-computer-based lab; Ni-PADA complex; EXCEL and SOLVER add-in

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (53 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

(1) Answer to manuscript exercises, (2) Additional exercises with answers, (3) In-class quiz, (4) Experimental procedures, (5) Instructions for the instructor, and (6) Students’ results including GC-MS of the products of electrophilic aromatic substitution are available (601 KB).

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