Chemistry Teaching Laboratory Workshops

Due to current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, we regret that we are not currently able to offer these workshops at this time.

Sugar Rainbow

Audience          
Years 4-6, mixed ability
 
Duration:           
45-60 minutes

 

Workshop Description

Students make sugar solutions of different concentrations and colour them using food colouring.  They then use them to make a density column in a test tube, with a challenge to see how many different layers they can create.

Concepts covered

  • density
  • miscibility of liquids (whether they mix or form layers)
  • states of matter – liquids (addressing the common misconception that all liquids are water-based)
  • properties of materials – miscibility is an extension on the concept of solubility

Skills covered

  • careful handling of chemicals
  • planning scientific enquiries to answer questions
  • recording data
  • using test results to make predictions

Prior learning required
Students may have some experience of recording data in a table of results. 

Further study ideas

  • Application: Can you make layers using liquids found in the kitchen (golden syrup, milk, water, vegetable oil).
  • Application: Make lava lamps using vegetable oil, water and food colouring. 
  • Mystery: Egg which floats in salt water but sinks in pure water – can students work out what the trick is?
  • Mystery: Raisins in lemonade – why do they float and then sink again? 
  • Investigation: how much washing up liquid is needed to make oil and water mix?
  • Investigation: How do solids float differently in different liquids?  Does shape matter?

 


Chill-out Challenge

Audience
Year 5-6, mixed ability
 
Duration            
60-90 minutes

 

Workshop Description

Students investigate how the mass of sodium bicarbonate added to a citric acid solution affects the drop in temperature.  More advanced students are challenged to find the correct mass of sodium bicarbonate to get a target temperature drop.  

Concepts covered

  • chemical reactions / non-reversible changes
  • household chemicals
  • energy changes - endothermic reactions

Skills covered

  • careful handling of chemicals
  • planning scientific enquiries to answer questions
  • recording and processing data (inc graph drawing)
  • using results to make predictions
  • measuring changes in temperature
  • numeracy - subtraction with numbers to 1 decimal place

Prior learning required
Students should have some experience of recording data in a table of results. 

Further study ideas

  • Extension: Use a temperature probe attached to a computer to show how the temperature changes over time.  
  • Extension: Investigate exothermic reactions in a similar way
  • Extension: Investigate other common substances, such as a vitamin tablet / alka seltzer tablet / some sherbert mixed with water.

 

Chill-out Challenge

Audience
Year 7-9, mixed ability
 
Duration            
60-90 minutes

 

Workshop Description

Students investigate how the mass of sodium bicarbonate added to a citric acid solution affects the drop in temperature.  More advanced students are challenged to find the correct mass of sodium bicarbonate to get a target temperature drop.  

Concepts covered

  • chemical reactions / non-reversible changes
  • household chemicals
  • energy changes - endothermic reactions

Skills covered

  • careful handling of chemicals
  • planning scientific enquiries to answer questions
  • recording and processing data (inc graph drawing)
  • using results to make predictions
  • measuring changes in temperature
  • numeracy - subtraction with numbers to 1 decimal place

Prior learning required
Students should have experience of recording data in a table of results and understand how a graph can be drawn and used to make predictions, though it is expected that some will need support drawing the graph accurately. 

Further study ideas

  • Extension: Use a temperature probe attached to a computer to show how the temperature changes over time.  
  • Extension: Investigate exothermic reactions in a similar way
  • Extension: Investigate other common substances, such as a vitamin tablet / alka seltzer tablet / some sherbert mixed with water.

Cough Sweet Calibration

Audience
Year 10-11
 
Duration
90 minutes

 

Workshop Description
Students will use UV/Vis to determine how much dye is needed to give cough sweets their colour.
They will first use serial dilution to make a set of standards and use these to plot a calibration curve.
The calibration curve will then be used to determine the amount of dye in a cough sweet.

Concepts covered

  • UV/Vis
  • Beer's Law
  • Calibration curves
  • Working with low concentrations

Practical Skills covered

  • Use of UV/Vis machine
  • Serial dilution
  • Use of volumetric flasks and pipettes
  • Plotting graphs

Prior learning required
Students should be able to draw a graph and represent small numbers in standard form.

 


 

Aluminium Air Battery

Audience
Year 10-11
 
Duration
1 hour

 

Workshop Description
Students make a battery using aluminium foil, sodium hydroxide or sodium chloride solution, and activated carbon.  They then use the battery to power an LED.   

Concepts covered

  • Redox and half equations
  • Identifying anode and cathode 
  • Concentration calculation 
  • Series circuits

Practical Skills covered

  • Careful handling of chemicals
  • Use of volumetric flask 

Prior learning required
Students should know what is meant by oxidation and reduction in terms of electrons, and carry out a simple calculation to make a standard solution.

 

Fragrance Chemistry

Audience
Year 12-13
 
Duration
3 hours
 
Workshop Description
Students will synthesise an ester, purify it, and calculate the yield.  They will also use IR and NMR spectroscopy in a pattern matching exercise.
Pairs will be allocated different starting products and so will collectively produce alternate esters. These fragrances can then be compared between pairs.

 

Concepts covered

  • Production of esters
  • Yield calculations, atom economy calculations
  • NMR and IR spectra

Practical Skills covered

  • Synthesis of an organic liquid
  • Heating under reflux
  • Use of a separatory funnel
  • Use of a drying agent
  • Use of a rotary evaporator
  • Vacuum distillation
     

Prior learning required
Students should be able to identify the equipment required for reflux and distillation.  They will have studied esters and be able to identify how an alcohol and a carboxylic acid react to make an ester.  

Students should have experience interpreting IR spectra. If students have covered analytical chemistry, including NMR, please choose the Combinatorial Esters workshop. 

 


 

Combinatorial Esters

Audience
Year 12-13
 
Duration
3 hours
 
Workshop Description
Students will synthesise an ester purify it, and calculate the yield.  They will also use IR and NMR spectroscopy to identify the starting material and the product.
Different groups will be allocated different starting products and methods (either the Fischer method or using an acid chloride)
Using the yields and spectra of the products they will decide which methodology is preferable.

 

Concepts covered

  • Production of esters using carboxylic acid / acid chloride
  • Yield calculations, atom economy calculations
  • Interpreting NMR and IR spectra

Practical Skills covered

  • Synthesis of an organic liquid
  • Heating under reflux
  • Use of a separatory funnel
  • Use of a drying agent
  • Use of a rotary evaporator
  • Vacuum distillation
     

Prior learning required
Students should be able to identify the equipment required for reflux and distillation.  They must have studied esters and be able to identify how an alcohol and a carboxylic acid react to make an ester.  It is not necessary that they are confident in the production of acid chlorides and their use in making esters, however it would be useful to indicate whether this has been covered when booking the course so that explanations during the workshop can be pitched appropriately. 

Students should have experience interpreting IR and proton NMR spectra.
If they have not yet covered analytical chemistry, please choose the Fragrance Chemistry workshop.