A lesson planning resource for Year 9 chemistry lessons, centred on getting pupils to use their knowledge of the reactivity series as part of an active lesson involving a safe version of the thermit reaction.
Head of science Alastair Gittner sets up the chemistry lesson by asking his Key Stage 3 students to consider how railway tracks are joined together, using their knowledge of the reactivity series.
The classic thermit reaction, between iron oxide and aluminium, is too dangerous to carry out in the school labs, so instead zinc and copper oxide are used.
When these two substances are combined and the mixture is lit, a bright exothermic reaction is the result. Students can observe a chemical reaction taking place, as well as a new substance being made.
Alastair uses this experiment across the year groups at Stocksbridge High School. Safety precautions include ensuring ceramic heat mats are used, safety glasses are worn and the labs are well ventilated, due to the smoke produced from the experiment.