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Name: Jennifer
Status: Educator
Age: 40s
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Question:
How can I teach that glucose has a lot of energy and connect this to bonding/electron configuration?



Replies:
I would emphasize the dipoles created by all those oxygens. Those negative charges (created by electrons concentrated in one part of a chemical structure) are attracted to positive charges. That means they are ready to jump to the nearest positive charge (usually in another molecule) at the first opportunity.

The result of that charge imbalance is that every carbon:oxygen bond has lots of potential chemical energy stored in it, much like gravity provides potential energy for a ball to roll down a hill. Breaking down glucose at each of those C-O bonds to make H2O and CO2 is exothermic and releases energy. If that energy is released in a controlled way (one bond at a time by an enzymatic reaction), it can be harnessed to provides the energy to d rive reactions important for the cell.

Christine Ticknor, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University



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