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Engage 1: What is Organic?

Look at the pictures. Which are considered organic?

Discuss with a partner or respond in your science notebook.

Engage 2: What is Organic?

                          

All of the objects are considered organic except the rocks and the paddle boat. To a chemist, the term organic describes chemical compounds that contain carbon and other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, or phosphorus. For example, the pain reliever acetaminophen is organic and its chemical formula is C8H9NO2.

At the grocery store, the term organic describes foods raised under specific conditions. For example, beef labeled organic is from cows that were not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal by-products.

All of the organisms pictured are alive and composed of organic compounds.

Then why is sugar organic? Let’s find out more.

Explore 1: Classifying Compounds

In this activity, you will determine whether each compound is an example of an organic or inorganic compound and place it on the correct side of the chart. Use the Periodic Table if you are unfamiliar with the elements' symbols. A copy of the Periodic Table is located in Related Items.

To retake the quiz, reload the page and then select No when the Resume Quiz dialog box appears.

 

Explore 2: What do you Observe?

Discuss the following question with a partner or respond in your science notebook. What did you notice about all the compounds that are classified as examples of organic compounds?

What other elements do you see that are commonly found in organic compounds? Write your observation in your science notebook. You will have a chance to revise or add to your observation later in the lesson.

Explain 1: Organic or Inorganic?

When you wrote your observation, did you mention carbon is always present and that hydrogen and oxygen are commonly found in organic compounds? Great! Most organic compounds contain carbon, hydrogen, and sometimes other elements such as nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, or phosphorus. All living organisms contain carbon—even bacteria.

Earlier when you were looking at the pictures, sugar was identified as organic. Why is sugar organic? The chemical formula for sugar is C6H12O6. The compound contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Sugar is processed from sugar cane, a plant. All living organisms contain carbon-based compounds, making them organic.

Our bodies are composed mostly of water, H2O, and it is necessary for us to survive. However, water is an example of an inorganic compound because it does not contain carbon and it was not formed by a living organism.

Carbon dioxide, CO2, is another example of an inorganic compound because it does not contain both carbon and hydrogen. One molecule of CO2 contains one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen. There are a total of three atoms in one molecule of carbon dioxide, CO2.

If you had one molecule of the organic compound vanillin, C8H8O3, how many carbon atoms would each molecule contain? If you said eight, you are correct! How many atoms total are in one molecule of vanillin? If you said 19, you are correct again. Great job!

Explain 2: Graphic Organizer

In this activity, drag and drop the descriptors of organic and inorganic compounds in the appropriate location on the graphic organizer. Descriptors that apply to both organic and inorganic compounds should be placed in the center section. Remember to use the Periodic Table.

To retake the quiz, reload the page and then select No when the Resume Quiz dialog box appears.

Explain 3: Using What You Know

Go back to the observation you wrote earlier. Based on the information in the reading, revise your observation. Add additional notes if needed. 

 

In the following activity, you will check your understanding by identifying examples of organic compounds.

Using the observation/notes you have written, identify the following compounds as either organic or inorganic by checking the box to the left of the compound.

To retake the quiz, reload the page and then select No when the Resume Quiz dialog box appears.

Elaborate 1: Classifying Models

Compounds are frequently represented using models. For example, the organic compound urea, CH4N2O, contains a total of eight atoms. A model of urea might look like one of these.

Notice each atom of the chemical formula  is represented and is connected to another atom, showing the atoms are bonded together.

Elaborate 2: Check Your Understanding of Models

In the activity below, you will select models that represent organic compounds. Remember to use your Periodic Table!

To retake the quiz, reload the page and then select No when the Resume Quiz dialog box appears.

 

Evaluate 1: Quiz

Take the short quiz to check your understanding of organic compounds. Use your Periodic Table. A copy of the Periodic Table is located in Related Items.

To retake the quiz, reload the page and then select No when the Resume Quiz dialog box appears.

Evaluate 2: Create Your Own Organic Compound

Scientists study the natural world, looking for new discoveries. Chemists look for new compounds to cure diseases, answer questions, or help develop new products. There are rules about which elements bond together and how they bond to form a compound. For example, water has a chemical formula of H2O. If the formula is changed to H2O2, the substance is no longer water, but is now hydrogen peroxide.

Imagine you are a chemist researching organic compounds. You are convinced you have discovered a new organic compound and are explaining your discovery to another scientist. Consider the notes you wrote earlier in the lesson as you complete the task. Record the response to the following questions in your science notebook.

  1. What is the chemical formula for your organic compound?
  2. What name will you give your compound?
  3. How would you justify to others that your compound is in fact organic and not inorganic?
  4. How will your compound impact society?

Check your work with your teacher.

Teacher Notes

In this lesson, students identify that organic compounds contain carbon and other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, nitrogen, or sulfur (TEKS (7)(6)(A)).

5E Cycle Activity Title Student Outcome Follow-Up
Engage What is Organic? Engage in prior knowledge of what organic means. Teacher or class debrief
Explore

Classifying Compounds

What do you Observe?

Explore patterns in compounds that define organic compounds and make an observation about identifying organic compounds.

Students will be given a list of chemical formulas and a t-chart in which they have to sort the compounds as organic or inorganic based on examples provided. Once the compounds are sorted, students will be asked to make and record an observation that can be used to identify an organic compound. At this point, their observation should say something about the compound containing carbon and hydrogen. Encourage students to use their Periodic Table throughout the entire lesson. 

Self check
Explain

Organic or Inorganic?

Graphic Organizer

Using What You Know

Explain how organic compounds differ from inorganic compounds.

During the explain section, students will read information about organic and inorganic compounds. The information can be used to verify the observation they created. Students can update or add to their observation based on information in the reading. 

There are two activities to check for understanding of organic compounds. One activity students drag and drop descriptors about organic and inorganic compounds. The second activity has a list of compounds and students are asked to identify the organic compounds. Remind students to use their Periodic Table as a reference tool. 

Self-check; teacher debrief
Elaborate

Classifying Models

Check Your Understanding of Models

Given models of compounds, differentiate the organic compounds from the inorganic compounds.

Students read about models of compounds and then asked to identify models of organic compounds. In 7th grade, students do not need to know the rules about bonding, but know models of compounds can be represented in different ways. Encourage the use of the Periodic Table. 

Self-check or teacher debrief
Evaluate

Quiz

Create Your Own Organic Compound

Create a chemical formula for an organic compound and justify the classification as being organic.

First, students answer several multiple choice questions identifying organic compounds and their components. Allow students to use their Periodic Table as a reference tool. Second, students imagine they are a chemist that has discovered a new organic compound. They will create a chemical formula to represent the compound, create a name for the compound, and justify why it would be classified as an organic compound. It is important that students know this is fictional and scientists don’t just make things up. If time permits, students can research their imaginary compound to see if it already exists.
Accept reasonable responses that contain at least carbon and hydrogen. Other elements may also be present.

Self-check quiz; peer debrief and teacher debrief