Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student has an exam over energy crossing a cell membrane (chapter 6) on Friday, so we reviewed the material again from last week. We covered the types of energy we encounter and use in everyday life. She was able to make the connection between the food web from previous years and the types of energy present and whether each link's exchange of energy would be considered a reduction reaction or an oxidation reaction. She seemed to have difficulty remembering the reason enzymes are used to increase the efficiency of metabolic pathways, a concept she was very confident with during last session. I suggested that she ask her teacher to review the transformation of ATP to ADP and back again, as well as the efficiency of an enzyme as a catalyst in metabolic pathways. The student seems to really understand the concepts of entropy and free energy. She is able to correctly identify if a reaction is exergonic vs endergonic as well as predicting its likelihood of occurring. She also seemed very confident in the different types of inhibitors. However, she struggled with remembering the difference between the examples of enzyme inhibitors that were given in outline (ex. warfarin, sarin, cyanide, etc.). We will review these concepts next session."
"My first session with the student was spent primarily on arrow pushing mechanisms for a variety of different reactions. We spent the first ten minutes or so discussing what specifically the student was struggling with and what she felt more confident in. For the most part, the student seemed to only feel good when it came to nomenclature, so we started in on reviewing problems from some of the worksheets her professor had posted. The first reaction we went over was an E2 reaction, which the student didn't seem to know much about. I discussed the three important factors to consider in elimination reactions with her (strength of leaving group, carbocation stability, and base strength) to help clarify why it was E2 and not E1. I walked her through the first mechanism to show her why the arrows went certain ways and what each arrow actually indicated before letting her try a similar problem with her walking me through the steps. Since it was our first session, she was a little shaky on what I wanted her to do, but we eventually got through the problem with a good amount of success. We then went through an E1 reaction to compare them, which seemed helpful to the student. The other reaction mechanisms we approached in the same format covered reductive ozonolysis, a two-step E2 and hydrogenation, and alcohol dehydrogenation. I really tried to stress core concepts to the student as well as arrow pushing mechanisms, having her draw Lewis dot structures, calculate formal charges, define Lewis acids and bases, and judge the strength of leaving groups. So far, my biggest concern for the student is her shakiness on fundamentals, which makes mechanisms and synthesis (her two big areas of concern) much harder to grasp. She had a couple of worksheets from her teacher to do and a table summarizing the main reactions they have to know that she said she was going to try and do before our next session tomorrow."
"At the beginning of this session, I learned that the student will be having his first quiz since we've started working together. So, we began our review by reading the material for chapter 13, meiosis. Before reading the book, I asked the student to describe to me the difference between mitosis and meiosis. With a few guiding questions, the student was able to note that meiosis is distinguished by its production of haploid, genetically varied daughter cells. The big idea I told him to keep in mind was how does this variation arise and why is it important. We got through about a half of the chapter before we ran out of time. Before leaving, I assigned a battle plan for the student over the next two days."