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Investigate the Extraction of Metals

In this worksheet. students will explore the world around them, think about how many things are made from metals and where we get metals from.

'Investigate the Extraction of Metals' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Year:  Year 9 Science worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Chemistry: Materials

Curriculum subtopic:   Metals and Carbon in Reactivity Series

Popular topics:   Chemistry worksheets

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

When metals are discovered in nature they are not generally found as pure metals, but as part of a compound. This is because, over a very long period of time, the metal has reacted with oxygen in the air and reacted with water. 


When metals are found in this state they are called ores.


Copper ore

An example of an ore containing copper


The less reactive metals, such as gold and platinum, are found as a pure metal, because they are very unreactive. All other metals have to be removed from their ores.


 Panning for gold


Unreactive metals are easily removed from their ores. However, the more reactive the metal the more difficult it is to remove.

Shown below is a table showing the process that needs  be undertaken to remove metals from their ores: 

Potassium  Extracted from ores by electrolysis

Most Reactive




Least Reactive

Zinc  Extracted by heating with carbon  
Silver  Extracted using heat alone

The unreactive metals are removed from their ores simply by heating.


Metals such as zinc, iron, nickel, tin, lead and copper need to be heated with carbon to extract them.


The more reactive metals require electrolysis (a technique involving electricity) to achieve this.

Iron is often found in its ore (haematite) as iron oxide. The iron is extracted in a blast furnace, like the one below. The iron is displaced from iron oxide using carbon in the blast furnace.

Metal production by melting

Let's find out more about metals and their extraction. 

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