Hands Analogy

Get students to recognise the importance of functional groups: Start with hydrocarbons, and talk about skeletal structure and say we can ignore the hydrogens, they are kind of like your skin, but the functional groups are the things that do things, so they’re your hands. The functional groups will actually do things with other compounds. Then slowly introduce the concept that most compounds have two or more functional groups, and then you have competition - which one will react first? Both of them want to do things, but certain functional groups are more like your right hand (if you’re right-handed), so they want to do things first, rather than your left hand.



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