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Reactivity Series

This worksheet answers the question "why would it be a bad idea to build a bridge from sodium metal?" by looking closely at the reactivity series.

'Reactivity Series' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Chemistry: Materials

Curriculum subtopic:  Metals and Carbon in Reactivity Series

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

By reacting metals with oxygen, acids and water, scientists have been able to construct a table of metals, listing them in order from the most to the least reactive.

This table is called the reactivity series:

 

 

The metals at the top are so reactive that they can even set on fire or explode when stored in water. They also tarnish (go dull) very quickly when exposed to air.

The picture below shows the explosive reaction produced when potassium is placed in water:

 


 

Metals near the bottom of the series are unreactive. Platinum, for example, will not corrode in air or react with acids. This makes it an ideal metal to make jewelry from as it will not tarnish or be damaged by chemicals. 

 

The picture below shows jewelry made from platiunum. 

Rings - stock photo


The reactivity series may seem complicated, but there is an easy way to remember it, using this simple pneumonic  (or you can make up your own!).

 

Police Sergeant Charlie MACZITL Has Caught Me Stealing Gold Plates 

 

In which order does the reactivity series list metals?

they are not in a specific order

least reactive to most reactive

aphabetical order

most reactive to least reactive

Place the metals in the correct order of reactivity by comparing their reactivity to aluminium (i.e. are they more reactive than aluminium or less reactive?).

Column A

Column B

potassium
less reactive
copper
more reactive
magnesium
more reactive
gold
more reactive
sodium
less reactive

Place the metals in the correct order of reactivity by comparing their reactivity to iron (are they more reactive than iron or less reactive?).

Column A

Column B

calcium
more reactive
mercury
more reactive
zinc
less reactive
lead
less reactive
silver
less reactive

Which of the following metals is most likely to react with water?

copper

sodium

silver

gold

Which of the following would not be a suitable material to use in the manufacture of jewellery? Tick three boxes.

magnesium

copper

calcium

silver

aluminium

What term is used to describe a metal that has become dull due to its reaction with air or other substances?

old

pitted

tarnished

Which THREE of the following did scientists react metals with in order to produce the reactivity series?

 

water

helium

nitrogen

oxygen

acid

Place the metals in order of reactivity from the highest to the lowest. 

 Most Reactive Least Reactive
Magnesium
Silver

Place the metals in the correct order of reactivity by comparing their reactivity to copper.

Column A

Column B

silver
less reactive
mercury
less reactive
lead
more reactive
gold
less reactive
zinc
more reactive
  • Question 1

In which order does the reactivity series list metals?

CORRECT ANSWER
most reactive to least reactive
EDDIE SAYS
The metals are listed according to their reactivity, with the most reactive at the top and the least reactive at the bottom.
  • Question 2

Place the metals in the correct order of reactivity by comparing their reactivity to aluminium (i.e. are they more reactive than aluminium or less reactive?).

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

potassium
more reactive
copper
less reactive
magnesium
more reactive
gold
less reactive
sodium
more reactive
EDDIE SAYS
Have another look at the reactivity series and familiarise yourself with the order:
  • Question 3

Place the metals in the correct order of reactivity by comparing their reactivity to iron (are they more reactive than iron or less reactive?).

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

calcium
more reactive
mercury
less reactive
zinc
more reactive
lead
less reactive
silver
less reactive
EDDIE SAYS
Calcium and zinc are more reactive than iron, but mercury, lead and silver are less reactive. If you use the pneumonic or made up your own you probably found this question straight forward!
  • Question 4

Which of the following metals is most likely to react with water?

CORRECT ANSWER
sodium
EDDIE SAYS
Sodium is very reactive and alights (sets on fire) when placed in water, to produce hydrogen gas and a bright yellow flame.
  • Question 5

Which of the following would not be a suitable material to use in the manufacture of jewellery? Tick three boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
magnesium
calcium
aluminium
EDDIE SAYS
Silver and copper have been used for many thousands of years to manufacture jewellery because of their appearance and low reactivity.
  • Question 6

What term is used to describe a metal that has become dull due to its reaction with air or other substances?

CORRECT ANSWER
tarnished
EDDIE SAYS
Metals that become dull when exposed to air are described as being tarnished. Potassium metal is a bright silver when cut but tarnishes in seconds when exposed to air because it is so reactive.
  • Question 7

Which THREE of the following did scientists react metals with in order to produce the reactivity series?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
water
oxygen
acid
EDDIE SAYS
Helium and nitrogen are very unreactive gases and would have no effect on any metals.
  • Question 8

Place the metals in order of reactivity from the highest to the lowest. 

CORRECT ANSWER
 Most Reactive Least Reactive
Magnesium
Silver
  • Question 9

Place the metals in the correct order of reactivity by comparing their reactivity to copper.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

silver
less reactive
mercury
less reactive
lead
more reactive
gold
less reactive
zinc
more reactive
EDDIE SAYS
Hydrogen is the only non-metal that is often included in the reactivity series.
---- OR ----

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