Name, School and Contact Information:
Elegan Lee, Chemistry Teacher
Home (preferred):
Plan Category:

Title of Plan:
I’m sick! Which aspirin should I take and why? (Aspirin Titration Lab)
Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is used to reduce fever and treat minor aches and pains. Aspirin can differ in many ways – there are different brands of aspirin, some have
different expiration dates, and some are exposed to heat over long periods of time. Students will
choose a variable to compare the amounts of acetylsalicylic acid in aspirins. The acid can be
neutralized with sodium hydroxide and students will use titration in order to determine the
amount of acid in different aspirins. Students will then communicate the implications of their
results concerning medicine in the community such as differences in acid concentrations among
different brands of aspirin and changes in concentration over time. In addition, students will
write a lab report explaining how they gathered their results. This activity allows students to
understand how scientists create and implement controlled experiments and apply their findings
to real world applications.
Required Equipment/Materials:
Each lab group (consisting between 2-3 students) will receive: • pH indicator – phenolphthalein indicator solution • 0.125M NaOH (sodium hydroxide) solution • Aspirin – different kinds that are preferably not buffered and not coated (such as different brands of aspirin, expired aspirin, aspirin exposed to extreme hot/cold conditions, etc.) Associated Cost (if any):
This is the approximate start-up cost for this activity for 12 lab groups. Cost will vary depending on materials already available at the school. Total cost does not reflect the purchase of aspirin at drugstores. Materials
Total Price
Flinn – GP1087 – Glass 50 mL burets with Teflon Flinn – AP8228 – Support Stand, 6” x 9” Flinn – AP1876 – Funnel, buret filling Flinn – GP3040 – Flasks, Erlenmeyer, 125 mL, glass Flinn – GP1058 – Beaker, glass, 200 mL Flinn – AP4290 – Graduated Cylinder, Polypropylene, Flinn – GP5075 – Stirring rods, glass Flinn – AP6066 – Mortar and pestle, 60 mL set Flinn – S0075 – Sodium Hydroxide, 500g, pellets Flinn – P0019 – Phenolphthalein Solution,100 mL Total Cost

Instructions for Execution:
• Give students background information on aspirin. Present students with the different types of aspirin available to them in class and have them compile a list of how aspirins vary from one another. (10-15 minutes) • Lab groups (consisting between 2-3 students) will choose only one variable from the list to compare the amount of salicylic acid in aspirins. Lab groups must design and implement a controlled experiment that determines the amount of salicylic acid in the different aspirins. Teacher will go over all lab safety precautions prior to designing and implementing the labs. (60-75 minutes) o Students will be familiar with the titration procedure through a lab prior to this aspirin titration activity. They will practice the standard titration procedure with various acids and bases. Thus they will have to apply their understanding of acid-base titration to determine the amount of salicylic acid in different aspirins. • Lab groups will analyze their data. Based on their findings, they will create a media component to educate and inform consumers on choosing the best aspirin. Possible media ideas include advertisements, news articles, and video clips. Other media ideas must be approved by the teacher. In addition, each student will write an individual lab report that explains how they tested their question. Rubrics for the media component and individual lab reports will be shared and discussed before. Any work not finished during class will be completed for homework. (60 minutes) • Lab groups will share their media component and debrief their findings with the class the next day. All individual lab reports will be collected at the beginning of the hour. (20-25 minutes) Possible modifications: • Teacher may choose how to vary the aspirin instead of having students choose a variable. For example, the teacher can have the class test which brand of aspirin is the most cost effective based on the concentration acetylsalicylic acid in aspirin. • Antacid medicine, such as Tums, may be used instead of aspirin. However antacid is a base, so it must be neutralized with an acid such as hydrochloric acid. So students should be provided with 0.1M HCl (hydrochloric acid) instead of 0.85M NaOH (sodium hydroxide). • Instead of a media component, the teacher may have students write in their lab report the implications of their results regarding to medicine in the community.
Measurement of Success:

Students’ individual lab reports will be assessed with the following rubric:
Title of Lab (includes independent variable(IV)/dependent
Purpose/Problem clearly stated (includes IV/DV)
Background information is a paragraph that
• Describes the key ingredient(s) of aspirin • Explains the titration process and how its used to solve the Hypothesis shows a relationship between the IV and DV
Completed Materials List
Independent Variable defined and listed (with units – if applicable)
Dependent Variable defined (and units – if applicable)
At least 3 constants defined
Control defined (if applicable)
Procedure is enumerated, clear, complete, and replicable
Data Table is complete, labeled, and values include units (where
Calculations are accurate, explained and all work is shown
Analyzes at least 3 possible sources of errors and their effect on the
Overall Product – Format, Grammar, Spelling, Clarity
Lab groups’ media component will be assessed with the following rubric:
Informs consumers which aspirin to should take when they’re sick Independent and dependent variables are clear within the media Claim is supported with evidence and data Media and presentation is creative, interesting, and informative Individual participation and effort involved in the group


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