More U.S. schools should include organic chemistry in introductory science courses. Most U.S. high schools offer first-year physics, chemistry, and biology plus some number of advanced electives. Schools have tinkered over the years with the sequence of first-year classes, for example starting with biology because the subjects of study are large and comparatively easy to handle, or starting with physics to build understanding from the smallest to the largest systems. More recently, some schools have launched integrated courses of science study, coordinating biology, chemistry, and physics topics to emphasize their mutual dependencies.
Organic chemistry is typically left out of introductory science courses. If included at all, the subject typically appears in advanced elective classes. Why? Perhaps organic has the reputation for being difficult or only being required in university study. Maybe it represents too drastic a departure from the quantitative focus of inorganic chemistry.
Why include organic chemistry?
- A major branch of the study of chemistry
- The basis for how biological molecules function
- Foundational concepts for industrial processes
- A great match for visual learners
- Explains the importance of key elements to life (e.g., oxygen)
- Another application of orbitals, bonding, and molecular geometry
- Suits students who like to classify and order systems
Whether college prep, comprehensive, or progressive, schools would serve students well by including organic chemistry in introductory science studies.