Advanced Higher Laboratory Sessions

Every year we offer local secondary school classes the chance to use our undergraduate teaching laboratory facilities to complete practical experiments.

We welcome local secondary schools into our teaching laboratories to conduct experiments, giving pupils the opportunity to experience a university teaching lab and gain confidence in their practical skills.This year the sessions run Monday 10th - Thursday 20th June 2024.

This year the sessions will be in the first year teaching laboratory in the Nucleus Building on King's Building campus. The sessions are teacher lead, and we will have PhD demonstrators and technical staff on hand to support where required.

Teachers can book their class into the practical sessions via this link. 

What is the opportunity?

For Advanced Higher chemistry pupils to use our laboratory facilities, with all equipment and chemicals provided free of charge. Each school will have designated bench and hood space, and multiple sets of equipment to carry out experiments. The available experiments follow the old SQA PPAs, and we recommend you use this time to upskill your pupils with practical understanding of labware and techniques, rather than trying to collect data for AH research projects.


Who runs the sessions?

The sessions are lead by school teacher(s) familiar with the AH course, and must be present at all times, they are responsible for pupil safety and the experiments. There will be technicians and lab demonstrators available in each session to assist, but they are not there to run the experiments. 


Experiments on offer this year,

Although no longer an SQA requirement, the old PPAs provide valuable opportunities to understand key lab skills and techniques. From feedback last year, we will be trialing a different set up, offering each school multiple sets of equipment from which pupils can complete different experiments over the course of the day. Depending on your class size, you may not be able to run the one experiment with all pupils at the same time. This is a change from the previous setup of having experiments in set bays in the lab, we hope this provides easier supervision and more flexibility for your class.

Two sets of the following five experiments will be at your lab area. Pupils may work individually or in small groups to complete experiments, then wash and swap kits with their classmates throughout the day. Experiments available are,

  • Experiment 7A: Preparation of aspirin
  • Experiment 7B: Determination of aspirin
  • Experiment 8: Preparation of benzoic acid by hydrolysis of ethyl benzoate
  • Experiment 9: Preparation of ethyl ethanoate
  • Experiment 10: Colorimetric determination of manganese in steel

We can provide a digital copy of the experimental methods, you may have a different version which you are welcome to use if it requires the same apparatus and chemicals. Printed experimental methods should be provided by the schools to the pupils.


Booking Capacity.

Due to high demand, each school may sign up to 1 full day session with a maximum of 20 students attending on each day. Please get in touch if you expect to have more than 20 pupils in your class, we will do our best to accommodate. Each session will be capped to 60 pupils, working well below the lab capacity to ensure plenty space for all. Teachers with consortium classes noted these sessions are useful at the start of the AH course for getting to know the new students, since a large portion of the course is taught virtually. 

*Note there is no session offered on Monday 17th June, as an Undergraduate Open Day is scheduled on Campus this day.


Health & Safety

Everyone present must adhere to health and safety protocols.

  • All present must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (lab coats, gloves, and safety glasses). We can provide if required.
  • All present must be appropriately dressed for a lab. No open toed shoes are allowed and full-length trousers/dress must be worn e.g. no exposed skin.
  • Long hair must be tied back.
  • No food or drink (including chewing gum) is to be consumed within the lab
  • No phones are to be touched with gloved hands.

Any visitor not maintaining safety protocol, and are presenting a hazard to themselves or others, will be asked to leave the lab immediately.


Getting Here

The sessions will be in The Nucleus Building, Thomas Bayes Rd, Edinburgh EH9 3FG. You will be met in the foyer by a member of our team upon your arrival and be taken up to the teaching labs. Please wait on the ground floor if you arrive early.

For arriving by public transport, Lothian bus services stop on West Mains Road and Mayfield Road, adjacent to campus. Lothian bus services also stop adjacent to Cameron toll shopping centre, which is approximately a 10-minute walk from campus.

If you are driving, there is ample free street parking surrounding the campus (e.g. West Mains Road), with a convient pick up/drop off point directly outside the main chemistry building on David Brewster Road, just a short walk to the Nucleus Building. Parking on the university campus is by permit only, which must be requested in advanced.