Activity Series of Metals Computer Simulation NEW CSS/JAVA Version

Activity Series of Metals Computer Simulation New Version CSS/JAVA  

©2021 ACS American Association of Chemistry Teachers  Authors: Thomas Greenbowe Univeristy of Oregon, John Gelder Oklahoma State University, Adam Boyd AACT, Monica Wixon AACT

Select various metals to test in aqueous M2+ solutions.  Build an activity series of metals 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. In this activity, students will run simulated tests of various metals in aqueous solutions to determine the relative reactivity of these metals. A total of eight metals will be observed in various combinations with the corresponding metal nitrate solutions and hydrochloric acid. Students will interpret the data collected to construct an activity series of the elements used in this simulation (AACT, 2021).


Old Flashed Based Version  ***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.


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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