Functional Groups and Basic Chemical Tests

Time to complete course: 30 min.

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About Functional Groups and Basic Chemical Tests Virtual Lab Simulation

This simulation was adapted from the original, longer “Organic Chemistry Introduction” simulation. See the full-length simulation for more information.

Functional … what? In this simulation, you will learn the very basics of functional groups within organic chemistry, and perform simple chemical tests to validate their presence.

Tooth trouble

You will start off by meeting with Simon, who’s having trouble with a terrible toothache. He’s gotten some painkillers, but from a source he’s not entirely sure he can trust. Perhaps you can help him figure out if it’s alright for him to take the painkillers?

Prepping for the real deal

In the lab, you join forces with Dr. One, who will support and test you on your mission. After suiting up for the lab, you dive straight into the first experiment: the bromine test. Here you need to show Dr. One that you’re comfortable when it comes to simple chemical tests—so the produced results in your main mission can be trusted!

Validation by chemical tests

You then move on to deal with the main mission: Salicylic acid. First, you need to figure out which functional groups are in this organic compound. Once that’s sorted, you move to the fume hoods again to test whether these groups are indeed present in your sample from Simon. Dr. One might have a little extra challenge waiting for you though.

An update for Simon

Armed with your findings, you will return to Simon to share what you’ve learnt about the contents of the painkillers he got. It will be tricky to get the chemical tests right, but luckily you can repeat the experience if you want to practice more. Will you be able to solve the functional group challenge?


  • Organic Chemistry Introduction: Learn about organic compounds
  • Carbon Valence, Hybridization and Angles
  • Hydrocarbon Nomenclature and Representations

Get Started Now

Join Dr. One on a mission to discover what is in the mysterious painkillers that your friend Simon has gotten hold of. You will identify which functional groups this chemical compound should contain and perform chemical tests to verify their existence.

Techniques in Lab

  • Bromine test for unsaturated hydrocarbons
  • Ceric Ammonium Nitrate test for alcohols and phenols
  • Sodium bicarbonate test

Learning Objectives

  • Give examples of functional groups of organic compounds and their reactions
  • Determine the presence of specific functional groups by carrying out simple chemical tests 
  • Investigate the functional groups present in salicylic acid by performing a series of chemical tests

Simulation Features

Length – 30 minutes
Languages – English

Examples of Related Standards


Chemistry related 1st year onwards


HS-PS1-3, HS-PS1-6


10.1 Fundamentals of organic chemistry
10.2 Functional group chemistry
20.1 Types of organic reactions


Unit 2: Ionic Compounds Structure and Properties

Screenshots of Functional Groups and Basic Chemical Tests Virtual Lab Simulation


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