Activity Series of Metals Computer Simulation

Activity Series of Metals Computer Simulation

Select various metals to test in aqueous M2+ solutions.  Build an activity series of meals based upon observations of whether or not a metal reacts with a M2+aqueous solution.  Option to view a computer animation at the particle level of the interaction of the M2+ion with the metal electrode.  Based on observations, write the the oxidation-reduction half-reactions.  ***This is a temporary link that will get you to all of the Gelder, Abraham, Greenbowe (GAG) chemistry education instructional resources (including computer simulations).

©2010 Greenbowe  Chemistry Education Instructional Resources.

This is an OLD  FLASH-based computer simulation developed by Tom Greenbowe and his chemistry education research group.  A new HTML5 based computer simulation of this activity is planned to be developed.

Active Learning

Rather than lecturing students on the activity series of metals why not let the students make observations and develop their own activity series of metals?  Students can compare their activity series with the one in their textbook. A student activity sheet developed by Gelder, Abraham and Greenbowe is available to use with this computer simulation and is available to down load.  See side menu.

Curriculum Notes 

When the student activity sheet /tutorial is used with computer simulation and the computer animations representing reactions at the particle level (atom level), and when students have the opportunity to do an activity series of metal experiment in the laboratory it is an effective way of exposing students to all three levels of representation in Alex Johnstone's triangle: microscopic, symbolic and macroscopic levels of representation.  Note, Alex Johnstone stressed instructors should not have students view all three levels simultaneously, but rather "slide" on one side of the triangle at a time..

Learning Objectives

1. Predict and/or justify trends in atomic properties of metals based on location on the periodic table and/or the shell model.

2. Make observations involving metals in metal ion solutions with respect to whether a reaction occurred or not. 

3. Construct an activtiy series of metals. Justify with evidence the order of chemical reactivity of metals.

4. Identify oxidation-reduction reactions and justify the identification in terms of electron transfer.

5. Make qualitative or quantitative predictions about galvanic or electrolytic reactions based on half-cell reactions and standard reduction potentials.


If you are a chemistry instructor and have used, are using or will be using two or more of our computer simulations, we are asking you (or your school or institution) to please donate a minimum of $15/year for each simulation you are using up to a maximum amount of $100/year. If you are using just one of our computer simulations, please consider donating $15/year. One can make a donation by clicking-on the “$ Donate” button on the University of Oregon “chemdemos” web site or the “$ Donate” button on the University of Oregon Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry home page. The donate button will automatically link you to the University of Oregon Foundation’s web site and to the “Chemistry Achievement Endowment Fund”.


1. Abraham, M.; Gelder, J.; Greenbowe, T. (2007).  During Class Inventions and Computer Lab Activities for First and Second Semester General Chemistry. Hayden-McNeil: Plymouth, MI.

2. Kieffer, W.F. (1950). The activity series of metals. J. Chem. Educ.27 (12), p 659. DOI: 10.1021/ed027p659.

© Copyright 2012 Email: Randy Sullivan, University of Oregon Chemistry Department and UO Libraries Interactive Media Group