A curriculum resource for post-16 chemistry and science courses
This resource contains eight free-standing activities that can be used singly or as a coherent package in a wide range of teaching and learning situations for both academic and vocational courses. It is aimed at post-16 chemistry and science students and their teachers.
Experimental and investigative section
How to use this resource
Each resource is organised into two main downloads - a student activity and a guide for teachers and technicians with equipment lists and answers. Within the student activities there are both written and practical tasks. The practical tasks are both preparative/analytical and problem-solving.
For ease of use some traditional names are retained for chemicals throughout these resources. Below are listed the traditional names against the systematic names that are commonly used in post-16 chemistry courses in the UK.
|Traditional name/trade name
|3,7-Dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1 H- purine-2,6-dione
Health and safety
Teachers must consult their employer’s risk assessments before commencing any practical activity. It is good practice to encourage students to do so also. However, this does not absolve teachers from their responsibility to check students’ plans and supervise the activity. Eye protection and other appropriate protective equipment should be worn for all the experiments in this booklet.
Dichloromethane is harmful by inhalation. Avoid breathing vapour and avoid contact with skin and eyes.
Ethanoic anhydride is flammable and causes burns.
Ethanol is flammable.
Ethyl ethanoate is volatile, highly flammable and the vapour may irritate the eyes and respiratory system. Avoid breathing the vapour and avoid contact with the eyes. Keep away from flames.
Hydrochloric acid can cause burns. It gives off an irritating vapour that can damage the eyes and lungs.
2-Hydroxybenzoic acid (salicylic acid) is harmful by ingestion and is irritating to the skin and eyes.
Phenol is toxic by ingestion and skin absorption. It can cause severe burns. Take care when removing phenol from the bottle because the colid crystals can be hard to break up. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask.
Phosphoric acid is irritating to the eyes and causes burns.
Sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns to the skin and is dangerous to the eyes.
Short wave UV may cause skin cancer and eye damage. Do not observe directly. The viewer should be screened from direct radiation.
- Reflect on the science and societal views surrounding drugs and their development with this critical thinking and research task.
- Use this class practical to produce aspirin in a microscale esterification using phosphoric acid as a catalyst.
- Try this microscale class practical to analyse aspirin tablets and find out how much salicylic acid is present.
- Get students running their own organic synthesis on a computer of tablet before taking part in the real thing with the aspirin screen experiment.
Compiled by David Lewis. Edited by Colin Osborne and Maria Pack. Designed by Imogen Bertin and Sara Roberts.
First published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1998
Second edition published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2003
Optimised and partially updated for online publication in 2023
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