Information Search

2017 Topic: Analgesics


Analgesics are drugs that mainly provide pain relief. They provide symptomatic relief, but have no effect on the cause.  Some like aspirin or acetaminophen are available over the counter while many others are prescription drugs.  The list of drugs for this competition with their names and Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers are:

  • Ciramadol (RN=63269-31-8)
  • Ibuprofen (RN=15687-27-1)
  • Naproxol (RN=26159-36-4)
  • Lefetamine (RN=7262-75-1)


  • A team of 2-3 students must complete this event. School with two teams MUST select different molecules to research and present.
  • This event is to be completed in 25 minutes.
  • Before the day of the event, the team will make their molecular model using low-density Styrofoam balls and wooden skewers.
  • The team should be prepared to use the Internet to answer general knowledge questions about all the molecules in the Information Search portion of the event.  
  • The team should be prepared to answer two questions about their molecule.  
    • Question #1 will focus on molecular geometry (such as chirality, identifying co-planar atoms, hybridization, bond lengths and angles)
    • Question #2 will focus on the relationship between form and function.  Note: Students are not expected to know specific proprietary information about the compounds.  They should however, understand the importance and role of different functional groups.


  • The molecular model should be made using low-density Styrofoam balls and wooden skewers.  Low density Styrofoam balls crumble when rubbed together.  They may be purchased at a crafts store, such as Michaels. Use different sized Styrofoam balls to represent the relative sizes of atoms and paint them according to the color code below.  The maximum size permitted is 3-inch balls.  Wooden skewers and glue are to be used for the bonds. Wooden skewers may be found at craft stores (ex: Michaels) or at a supermarket  (ex: Shoprite). The model may be mounted on cardboard.  No other materials other than Low Density Styrofoam balls, Paint, Wooden Skewers and Glue are permitted!  It may be mounted on cardboard.
  • Use black for carbon, white for hydrogen, red for oxygen, blue for nitrogen, yellow for iodine and orange for phosphorus.  Most spray paints will cause Styrofoam to denature ("melt").  Styrofoam spray paint may be found at craft stores that sell Styrofoam balls (ex: Michaels).
  • The model will be judged as to how accurately it represents the molecule.  A key should be available to the judges that provides information about bond angles, bond lengths and hybridization in the molecule.


  • On Event Day each team should bring their model to the designated room for judging.  During the allocated session, each team will participate in the "Internet Search" and "Molecule Questioning" portions of the event.
  • Teams will be asked six Internet Search questions.  In order to provide written answers to their six questions, each team will be provided with one computer with access to the Internet.  At the completion of scheduled session, each team must submit their written answers to the questions provided.  See examples of questions from last year's event.  
  • Students may consult the List of Suggested Databases that has been developed for this event.
  • During the day of the competition, student teams will be asked two questions.  Teams should use their model to orally respond to the question in order to demonstrate their knowledge and clarify their reasoning.  Student responses should not exceed 3 minutes.  
  • Teams must clean up and remove all materials that they bring to this event and return them to their own schools.  


  • Model construction and available key (50%)
  • Answer to oral questions on Event day (25%)
  • Answers to six information search questions (25%)