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CH10 Framework

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10. The bonding characteristics of carbon allow the formation of many different organic molecules of varied sizes, shapes, and chemical properties and provide the biochemical basis of life.

10. a. Students know large molecules (polymers), such as proteins, nucleic acids, and starch, are formed by repetitive combinations of simple subunits.
Students can readily visualize large molecules called polymers as consisting of repetitive and systematic combinations of smaller, simpler groups of atoms, including carbon. All polymeric molecules, including biological molecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, and starch, are made up of various unique combinations of a relatively small number of chemically simple subunits. For example, starch is a polymer made from a large number of simple sugar molecules joined together.

10. b. Students know the bonding characteristics of carbon that result in the formation of a large variety of structures ranging from simple hydrocarbons to complex polymers and biological molecules.
Building on what they learned in grade eight about the unique bonding characteristics of carbon, students explore in greater depth the incredible diversity of carbon-based molecules. They are reminded that, carbon has four bonding electrons and four vacancies available to form bonds, carbon is able to form stable covalent bonds (single or multiple) with other carbon atoms and with atoms of other elements.

Students learn how the presence of single, double, and triple bonds determines the geometry of carbon-based molecules. The variety of these molecules is enormous: over 16 million carbon-containing compounds are known. The compounds range from simple hydrocarbon molecules (e.g., methane and ethane) to complex organic polymers and biological molecules (e.g., proteins) and include many manufactured polymers used in daily life (e.g., polyester, nylon, and polyethylene).

10. c. Students know amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

Proteins are large single stranded polymers often made up of thousands of relatively small subunits called amino acids. The bond attaching two amino acids, known as the peptide bond, is identical for any pair of amino acids. The chemical composition of the amino acid itself varies. Variation in composition and ordering of amino acids gives protein molecules their unique properties and shapes. These properties and shapes define the functions of proteins, many of which are essential to the life of an organism. The blueprint for building the protein molecules is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Biotechnology is advancing rapidly as more is learned about DNA, amino acid sequences, and the shapes and functions of proteins.

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