Consolidate learning about the reactivity series of metals and simple displacement reactions with this game

This resource accompanies the article How chemistry keeps trains on track, which provides real-world context for displacement reactions which are used to weld tracks, and also How to teach displacement reactions at 11-14 which has more activities, tips and ideas to help students get to grips with the reactivity series.

  • Composite image showing a photo of a train with a screenshot of the presentation slides, teacher notes, and printable snap cards.

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    Download the teacher notes, including the printable snap cards and reactivity series strips as MS Word or PDF.

    Download the presentation with the formative assessment grid as MS Powerpoint or PDF.

Learning objectives

  1. Identify the more reactive metal using a reactivity series.
  2. State whether a reaction would occur between two substances using the reactivity series.
  3. Write word equations for simple displacement reactions.

At 11–14, students need to understand that metals can be placed in order of reactivity and that a more reactive metal will displace a less reactive metal from its compound. They also need to appreciate that carbon and hydrogen are included in the reactivity series. They should learn to use the reactivity series to make predictions about possible reactions.

Displacement reaction snap


  1. Print out pages 3–6 on card (laminate if you wish) and cut out the individual cards. This is one ‘pack’.
  2. You will need one pack per pair of learners. Using a different coloured card for each set will help with clearing up and keep the packs together.


  • Play in pairs (or threes – one player can be the referee).
  • Shuffle and deal the cards face down.
  • Each player then places a card face up. If they don’t match:
    • Two metals: shout out the most reactive metal.
    • Two compounds: shout out ‘mixture’.
    • Metal and compound: shout out ‘reaction’ if the metal is more reactive than the metal in the compound. Shout out ‘no reaction’ if the reverse.
  • The first person to shout the correct answer picks up both cards. The winner is the first person to get all the cards or the person holding the most cards when time is up.

Reactivity series strips

Learners can use the reactivity series strips (see page 7 of the teacher notes) while playing the displacement reaction snap or completing the formative assessment grid.

Formative assessment grid

Learners will need individual whiteboards to write their word equations. Display the grid from the presentation or print it out and put it on the board.

Place a sticky note in a cell. Learners then write the word equation on their whiteboards. You can do this one reaction at a time, or assess as you go, putting several sticky notes up as the faster learners complete the equations.

Edit the metals/metal compounds on the slide to change the reactions possible.

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