* Bristol ChemLabS Schools' Laboratory Programme

Perfume Chemistry Day for Primary Pupils


Bristol ChemLabS is making available its recently refurbished undergraduate teaching laboratories to groups of school students to support regional Chemistry teachers. The laboratories are the best of their type in the UK and amongst the very best teaching laboratories in the world.

This means opportunities for your students to study at a world-class university with world class facilities outside of undergraduate term time as well as on Wednesdays throughout the year.

The Perfume Chemistry Day for Primary Pupils is one of several workshop days involving practical work designed by the Bristol ChemLabS School Teacher Fellow with practical scripts written in appropriate language.

Target Students

A maximum of 40 pupils from Y5 or 6.

The group may be made up of more than one school.


The number of teaching staff accompanying the student groups from each school should be what is considered appropriate by the local school rules, but there should be at least one teacher per group of up to 10 students.

Expected Timings


Meet at the School of Chemistry, Cantock’s Close.


Welcome by Tim Harrison in Lecture Theatre 1


Interactive Talk on Perfume Chemistry by Tim Harrison (Lecture Theatre 1)

11:00-11:20 Tour of the School of Chemistry in 4 groups.
11:20-11:40 Refreshments (West Foyer)
11:40-13:00 Laboratory session, Level 5 Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories.

Pupils will be able to eat lunch in the West 2 seating area or in the quadrangle (weather dependent) before departure if required. This will be supervised by accompanying teachers

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Health and Safety

Extremely Important! Students and accompanying staff will be expected to follow the School of Chemistry's rules for visiting school scientists on health and safety in the laboratories as well as the specific health and safety requirements of the experiments.

This information MUST be made available to all pupils and accompanying adults.

Click for full Bristol ChemLabS Health and Safety Rules

safety sign - no ballet shoes!

photo by riot_jane

The general rules include


Bristol ChemLabS has a more than sufficient supply of lab coats and safety glasses available for students and accompanying staff.

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Outline of Visit

Tour of the School of Chemistry

Small groups led by a postgraduate chemist must have accompanying adults from the school. Pupils will see a number of areas of the department including research labs and the chemistry library. Pupils will need to be aware that this is a working chemistry environment.

Perfume Chemistry

This presentation will be given by Tim Harrison and will include discussion of the sense of smell, the correlation with taste and how to chose fragrances and store them correctly. There will be audience participation with fragrance smelling.

Laboratory Session

This is broken down into two parts with the pupils divided into two groups.

Activity 1

Pupils will work with postgraduate chemists to build some molecules of fragrance chemicals and to have their photos taken with the molecules they have made. This session is intended to explain how fragrance molecules are assembled from individual atoms of elements.

If time allows, these images will be printed out during the session for the students to keep. The molecular models are to remain in the department!

We would like permission to use some of the images taken for possible research papers, posters and departmental website so a photo permission form is needed. This can be downloaded from http://www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk/Documents/PhotoConsentForm.pdf

Images will not be retained for any pupil whose image is not covered by this consent.

Activity 2

The pupils will make a perfume from a pre-determined formula. This will require pupils to transfer measured masses of fragrance components into a perfume bottle and to name and package their own fragrance. These can then be taken home.


The pupils will be given certificates of participation for their morning's work. A ChemLabS pencil and some chemistry postcards will also be given to the students.


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Students with Special Needs

The teacher in charge of the visit is expected to notify the School of Chemistry in sufficient time if there are students with special needs so that appropriate risk assessments can be carried out.


Photography of the day's activities is welcomed. Teaching staff have found that images taken in the laboratory make good copy for school websites and newsletters. Images may be taken by School of Chemistry staff for our own websites, articles and other publications. Each school is requested to complete the consent form found at: http://www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk/Documents/PhotoConsentForm.pdf and return it to Steve Croker by post or fax.


Please contact chem-net@bristol.ac.uk for bookings and The School Teacher Fellow for any queries at t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk


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