Molecular Structure and Properties: Mirror-Image Isomers

Welcome to second semester!  We have a few new students joining our class, so we will briefly review the syllabus (with minor revisions), talk about class mechanics, and consider opportunities for fine-tuning how we use our new textbook this semester.  Next, we will dive into Lesson 47 and investigate the concept of mirror-image isomers, also known as chiral compounds.  We will begin with the Lesson 47 PowerPoint ChemCatalyst to help get students thinking about mirror images.  We will then watch a short video about chirality (below):

Students will then receive the Lesson 47 Worksheet, working in pairs to model the compounds using the class set of molecular modeling kits.  The worksheet concludes with students hypothesizing whether L-carvone will smell like D-carvone, and then testing their hypothesis.  For homework, students were assigned textbook questions 2, 7, 8, and 9.

Want more?  Check out the blog post Perhaps looking-glass milk isn’t good to drink for an overview of Lewis Carroll, looking-glass milk, and L- and D-carvone.  Want more?  Joanna Shawn Brigid O’Leary from Rice University published an even more extensive investigation of how Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) weaved biochemistry into his fiction.  Her paper (available as a PDF), WHERE ‘THINGS GO THE OTHER WAY’: THE STEREOCHEMISTRY OF LEWIS CARROLL’S LOOKING-GLASS WORLD is well worth the read.  Perhaps it will even inspire students to read the book before the movie is released in theaters on May 27!


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