Aspirin screen experiment


The aspirin screen experiment is an interactive resource which allows you to run your own experiment. Each of the four levels take approximately 30 minutes to complete and are designed to be used as pre-lab activities in class or as homework.

Type of Activity

working independently



Age Group

16 to Undergraduate


Development of scientific ideasInvestigative workAnalysing, concluding & explainingPractical chemistryEquipment, apparatus & instrumentsStandard laboratory proceduresNomenclature, symbols & formulaeAnalysis: quantitativeRelative masses, masses & molesScientific & technological developmentsUsing scientific information to make decisionsIndustrial applicationsTeaching chemistryTeaching approaches/pedagogyExperiment & investigationSafety & risk assessmentPractical investigationsLaboratory skills developmentUsing standard techniquesFollowing standard proceduresGames, quizzes & problem solvingUsing ICTSupported self studyMathsManaging learningDeveloping conceptsTypes of ion: anionsPure substancesOrganic compoundsSeparation of mixtures: chromatographyPatterns in chemistryPhysical properties of materialsTrends in properties of materialsCommon chemical reactionsPrecipitationDisplacement reactionsCatalysis & catalystsHomogeneous catalysis & catalystsReaction mechanismsKinetics & reaction mechanisms: simple reactions & collision theoryOrganic chemistryRepresenting organic compoundsHydrocarbon skeletonsFunctional groupsDrawing organic structuresOrganic reaction mechanismsTerminology of organic reaction mechanismsNucleophilic reactionsElimination reactionsElectrophilic reactionsDetermining reaction mechanismsEvaluation of the process of obtaining a materialSuitability of product for useFinancial considerationsEnvironmental impactRisks to healthSynthesising important materialsBulk chemicalsSpeciality/fine chemicalsOrganic synthesis routes

Teachers notes to help get the most out of using the aspirin screen experiment with your class.


The aspirin screen experiment has been designed to be a flexible open tool for teachers and students. The synthesis of aspirin is an organic chemistry experiment in many specifications for students of ages 16-18 years.

This resource allows students to run their own reaction online before taking part in the real thing. The advantages to this approach are that the students will become more confident and familiar with the procedures in the laboratory. They may also feel less rushed and better understand the reason for each task. After using this resource feedback suggests there is more time in class to focus on practical skills and developing understanding.

The Royal Society of Chemistry would like to thank Dr Simon Rees (Chemistry Teaching Fellow, The Foundation Centre, Durham University) for his help and advice during the development of this resource.