Compounds containing carbon are often referred to as organic compounds. This is because carbon is the basis of all known forms of life and all major and minor biological molecules have carbon backbones.
In order to understand a little about why molecular shapes are important it is useful to know a little about how to build models. Models of molecules allow you to picture things which are too small to see. The shape of a molecule plays an important role in determining whether a molecule is soluble in water, how it will react with other molecules, and physical properties such as melting point and boiling point.
The most basic kinds of organic molecules are made with just two elements: Carbon and Hydrogen. More complex molecules include atoms of oxygen, nitrogen, or the halogens. The chemical formula of such a molecule is often not enough to specify the shape. Special naming rules are required to name organic molecules because they can have so many different shapes.
In this brief introduction to model-building you will build some small and simple molecules. But even some molecules of only a few atoms can have isomers. Isomers occur when molecules are made up of exactly the same number and kind of atoms but the atoms are connected together differently. For example, C8H18 (octane) has eighteen unique isomers. Here are two of them:
Your assignment now is to build all of the molecules on the back of the sheetshowing how to use the model kit. Get your teacher’t initials for each model to earn credit for this work.