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ERIC Number: EJ814854
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Saying What You Mean: Teaching Mechanisms in Organic Chemistry
Friesen, J. Brent
Journal of Chemical Education, v85 n11 p1515-1518 Nov 2008
Organic reactions in introductory organic chemistry courses are most commonly taught with a mechanism-based approach to the understanding of molecular reactivity. However, the effectiveness of the popular curved arrow representation to describe reaction mechanisms is often compromised by the overuse of shortcuts and obscure notation. The consistent use of balanced reaction equations, a concept that most students have learned and practiced in previous chemistry courses, is an effective technique in communicating reaction mechanisms. Other ways to introduce clarity and consistency to reaction mechanisms are: (i) avoiding the use of shortcut notations, (ii) including key electrons and bonds in structural representations, and (iii) distinguishing between covalent and ionic bonds. (Contains 2 notes.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A