Chemistry ReviewStudent Handout
OBJECTIVES and CONTEXT:
This Activity will help you review some important chemistry concepts that are
essential for understanding molecular and cellular biology.
Please make sure you have clear, confident understanding of these concepts
before Week 2.
Please answer the following questions (typed is preferred, if possible; but you
may “insert → picture → from file” to add photographs of your hand-made
drawings into your Word document). Please upload all responses and images in
Look up any terms you are uncertain of before answering the questions.
You may use your textbook or other reliable internet resources.
Come to Office Hours to:
o Meet / say “hi” to your instructors,
o get help with solving these questions,
o check your work, and/or
o to talk about how these concepts fit into the bigger picture of biology.
An answer key will be posted after the due date.
1) There are five types of chemical bonds and interactions discussed in
Chapter 2 of Raven’s Biology. (Access this textbook from “McGraw-Hill
Connect” on the left-sidebar of Bio2 Canvas site).
i. List these 5 types of bonds/interaction in order from strongest to
weakest from a biologist’s perspective*.
(*NOTE: biologists and biochemists usually answer this question
[ifferently than what is taught in General Chemistry. The difference is
because, as biologists, we mostly focus on chemistry that happens inside
of cells, and most of this intracellular environment is watery. (Hint: One
of the bond-types we ask you about is much less stable in watery
(aqueous) conditions than in dry conditions.)]
ii. give a brief description of each.
b. What part of an atom determines its ability to react (in a bond or
interaction) with another atom? (Hint: review the subatomic particles before
2) a) Draw an electron distribution diagram of a carbon atom. Show the
correct numbers, and approximate locations, of all of this atom’s subatomic
Use the following information for your drawing:
• Atomic number = 6
• Mass number = 12
• This carbon atom is neutral
2b) What does the term “atomic number” mean? (i.e., which subatomic
particles do you count to get this number?)
2c) What does the term “atomic mass number” [or “mass number”]
mean? (i.e., which subatomic particles do you count to get this number?)
2d) Like the carbon atom you drew, most atoms are neutral (because they have an
equal number of protons and electrons.) What do we call atoms that differ in
their numbers of protons and electrons? Please also provide several
3. On your electron distribution diagram of carbon from Question #2, do the
a) Label the valence electrons.
b) Are the valence electrons you labeled at the highest or lowest potential
energy level? How do you know?
c) What is the maximum number of covalent bonds that carbon can form
with other atoms? How do you know?
d) Most often, carbon atoms bond with oxygen, nitrogen and/or hydrogen
atoms. How many covalent bonds can oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen
form with other atoms? Draw each of these atoms to help you visualize
4. Draw the following molecules and compounds and label each of their
interactions. (Choose from the 5 types of chemical bonds and interactions you
described in #1a to label your drawings that are numbered “4a” … ”4d”.)
a. One molecule of H2O
c. Two molecules of water interacting with each other
d. Molecular oxygen (O2)
5. Life evolved in water, life is dependent on water, and the polarity of water is
critical to its chemical properties.
a. Define Use the concept of electronegativity to define the terms “polar”
and “nonpolar”. (Review the definition of electronegativity first).
b. Examine the diagram of water that you just drew in #4a and label each
atom with the appropriate partial charges ( δ+ or δ-).
6. Consider ethane (C2H6) and ethanol (C2H5OH)
a. Draw each structure.
b. Label them as polar or nonpolar and explain your reasoning.
c. Label them as hydrophobic or hydrophilic and explain your reasoning.
d. Describe how each of these molecules [ethane and ethanol] will interact
with water. Provide your reasoning.
7. Functional groups are the parts of organic molecules that are most
commonly involved in chemical reactions. There are 7 functional groups for
which you should know the structures.
a) Draw the functional groups listed below and label each as
1) Hydroxyl group
2) Carbonyl group
3) Carboxyl group
4) Amino group
5) Sulfhydryl group
6) Phosphate group
7) Methyl group
b. Use your knowledge of the structures of C, O, N and H atoms to create and
draw your own novel molecule.
• Include some of the 7 functional groups in your drawing.
• [Your molecule can be fictional, but it must obey the laws of chemistry.]
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