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Chapter 2: The Chemistry of Life

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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CK-12 Foundation, created from 1hkx.pdb (www.rcsb.org/pdb/explore/explore.do?structureId=1hkx) using UCSF Chimera (www.cgl.ucsf.edu/chimera). CC BY-NC 3.0.

The Chemistry of Life

Teachers and parents can access additional teaching materials from the Resources tab above the Table of Contents of this Flexbook.


Lesson 2.1: Matter and Organic Compounds

2.1.1 Chemical Substances

  • Elements
  • Compounds

2.1.2 The Significance of Carbon

  • KQED: Energy From Carbon?

2.1.3 Carbohydrates

  • Monosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • KQED: Biofuels: From Sugar to Energy

2.1.4 Lipids

  • Saturated Fatty Acids
  • Unsaturated Fatty Acids
  • Types of Lipids

2.1.5 Proteins

  • Protein Structure
  • Functions of Proteins

2.1.6 Nucleic Acids

  • Structure of Nucleic Acids
  • Roles of Nucleic Acids

Lesson 2.2: Biochemical Reactions

2.2.1 What Are Chemical Reactions?

  • Chemical Equations
  • Conservation of Matter

2.2.2 Chemical Reactions and Energy

  • Exothermic Reactions
  • Endothermic Reactions
  • Activation Energy

2.2.3 Biochemical Reactions and Enzymes

  • Types of Biochemical Reactions
  • Enzymes

Lesson 2.3: Water, Acids, and Bases

2.3.1 Water, Water Everywhere

2.3.2 Structure and Properties of Water

  • Chemical Structure of Water
  • Properties of Water

2.3.3 Acids and Bases

  • Acidity and pH
  • Acids
  • Bases

2.3.4 Acids and Bases in Organisms

2.3.5 Water and Life

Pacing the Lessons

Use the Class Periods per Lesson table below as a guide for the time required to teach the lessons of this chapter.

Lesson Number of Class Periods
2.1 Matter and Organic Compounds 3.0
2.2 Biochemical Reactions 2.0
2.3 Water, Acids, and Bases 2.0
  • Class periods are assumed to be 60 minutes long.

Online Resources

See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:

For a well-illustrated summary of chapter contents, see:

Use this PowerPoint presentation to give the class an overview of biochemistry, including organic compounds and enzymes:

fold it is an interactive site with puzzle related to protein folding.

Chapter Outline

Chapter Summary

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