Physics and Astronomy

Model Building

To construct ball and stick models of various organic molecules.

Purpose To develop a sense of the three dimensional nature of molecules.
Participants Teams of up to five people.
Materials Ball and stick models, provided by organizers.
  1. Students have some of the basic functional groups explained to them. Alcohol=R-0-H, ether=R-0-R' and so on. The alkene and alkyne series along with the basics of nomenclature are also included.
  2. Prior to the competition students are presented with prefixes that specify the number of carbon atoms in an organic molecule. methyl=1, ethyl=2 etc.
  3. The name of an organic molecule is written by the judge on a board and the teams must assemble it within a 5 minute time limit. The most accurate model is given the maximum amount of points (10) and so on downward.
  4. The number of rounds in the event can be determined by organizers
  1. The team's scores from each round are added together to give an aggregate score for the competition.
  2. The team with the most points at the end is the winner.
Source Youth Science Foundation Science Olympics Manual.

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