A list of named reactions involving transition metal-complexes is provided to the class and the students present a brief overview of each which includes the original paper and a current application.
In the broader sense the learning goals of this assignment are to introduce the students to a variety of metal complexes and the synthetic utility available to organic chemists while developing their research and communication skills. The specific learning goals are threefold. Students will be able to use SciFinder Scholar to perform a basic literature search. Students will practice their communication skills by creating the PowerPoint slides and delivering a short in-class presentation. Students will be able to describe a named reaction starting with the substrate, the reagents used in the transformation, and the product pointing out the bonds that are broken/formed.
A classroom with a projector.
I use this activity in both my second semester organic chemistry class as well as our foundational inorganic class when we reach the organometallic chapter. For the organic students I try to compare and contrast the organometallic reagents with the classical organic methods they are learning. For the advanced students I steer the discussion towards the choice of ligands, electron counting, and potential mechanisms. The list of reactions is not exhaustive and can be added to or subtracted from based on class size or interest.
Approximately 5 minutes per student. In a fifty minute class (second semester organic) approximately 9 students will finish and in a seventy-five minute class (foundational inorganic) approximately 10 students will finish.