Organic Functional Groups – Structure and Properties


  • Elisabeth Bell-Loncella University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


This activity for a one-semester GOB course for health professions, introduces organic functional groups present in biological compounds: hydrocarbons, alcohols, phenols, ethers; thiols, sulfides, disulfides; amines; ketones and aldehydes; carboxylic acids, esters and amides. Students explore a table of structures, to identify the bond order on the carbon atom and heteroatom (O, S, N) and group them according to the heteroatom. For each functional group, students identify the heteroatom, the shape on the carbon and heteroatom, and draw a sketch. Application questions test recognition and challenge students to look for similarities and differences between functional groups with similar structures. Clearly marked stop points require students to check with instructor before moving on. Activity has specific instructions for working collaboratively. Students report out through group rotation, and oral report. Students are tasked to devise tools to enhance their understanding of the subject matter.

Level: Undergraduate
Setting: Classroom
Activity Type: Learning Cycle

Discipline: Chemistry
Course: General, Organic & Biochemistry (GOB)
Keywords: organic functional groups, shape (VSEPR), bond order, steric group, heteroatom

ToC Image: Functional Groups of Molecules




How to Cite

Bell-Loncella, E. (2024). Organic Functional Groups – Structure and Properties . POGIL Activity Clearinghouse, 4(2). Retrieved from



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