Redox chemistry – pupil resources

This collection of classroom resources features all the pupil activities from our Developing expertise in teaching redox chemistry course for teachers. This collection is most valuable to those who have attended this course and wish to put into practice with their students some of the ideas and activities presented as part of that event.


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The fractional distillation of crude oil

In association with

This experiment simulates the industrial fractional distillation of crude oil in the laboratory.

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Mass changes in chemical reactions

Perform two chemical reactions to see whether any mass changes occur

Sodium

Reactivity trends of the alkali metals

In association with

Explore the trend in reactivity down Group 1 of the Periodic Table by looking at the similarity of the physical and chemical properties of the alkali metals.

Ammonia tank

Diffusion of gases: ammonia and hydrogen chloride

In association with

Place concentrated ammonia solution on a pad in one end of a tube and concentrated hydrochloric acid on a pad at the other and watch as the two gases diffuse far enough to meet and form a ring of solid ammonium chloride.

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Diffusion of gases – a safer alternative to bromine

Demonstration of the diffusion of gases.

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Making a reaction tube

Many reactions between gases and solids are suitable for demonstrations and class practicals. Making reaction tubes is an excellent lesson in physical chemistry in its own right as well as being cheaper than buying in expensive material.

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The combustion of iron wool

In association with

Demonstrate a clear increase in mass as iron wool is heated in air on a simple ‘see-saw’ balance.

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Finding the formula of hydrated copper(II) sulfate

In association with

In this experiment, the water of crystallisation is removed from hydrated copper(II) sulfate. The mass of water is found by weighing before and after heating. This information is used to find x in the formula: CuSO4.xH2O.

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The methane rocket

A strong plastic bottle is filled with a 2:1 ratio of oxygen to methane and the mixture ignited with the bottle standing on a suitable ‘launch pad’. The mixture ignites with a loud bang and the bottle flies several metres.

Beaker containing blue liquid and dry ice on top

Endothermic solid-solid reactions

In association with

Observe an endothermic reaction as solid hydrated barium hydroxide is mixed with solid ammonium chloride to produce a liquid that evolves into ammonia gas. The temperature drops dramatically to about -20 °C.

Experimental setup for cracking hydrocarbons in liquid paraffin

Cracking hydrocarbons in liquid paraffin with a catalyst

In association with

Model the industrial process of cracking larger hydrocarbons to produce smaller alkanes that can be converted into petrol. 

Demonstration of the recombination of hydrogen and oxygen with splint

Exploding bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen

In association with

Produce a small explosion in your classroom by electrolysing water then re-combining the hydrogen and oxygen gas.

Limestone quarry

Limestone Chemistry

This activity is most appropriate for students aged 14-16 to illustrate chemical reactions and useful materials made from rocks.

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Anecdotes: In the Limelight

The background and chemistry of burning calcium with hydrogen and oxygen to make ‘limelight’.

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Universal indicator ‘rainbow’

In association with

Create a ‘rainbow’ effect in a glass tube using universal indicator solution, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide.

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Neutralisation circles

Drops of dilute acid and alkali are placed a few centimetres apart on a sheet of filter paper and allowed to spread out until they meet. A few drops of Universal indicator are then placed over the moist area of the filter paper and a band of colours showing the ...

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The sublimation of air freshener

In association with

Sublimation is an interesting physical change. When a substance sublimes, it changes directly from a solid to a gas without passing through the liquid state. Dry ice sublimes, as do iodine and mothballs. This experiment involves the study of another common substance that sublimes – air freshener.

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Competition for oxygen

This experiment involves the reaction of a metal with the oxide of another metal. When reactions like these occur, the two metals compete for the oxygen. The more reactive metal finishes up with the oxygen (as a metal oxide). If the more reactive metal starts as the oxide then no ...

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Extraction of iron on a match head

In association with

Students reduce iron(III) oxide with carbon on a match head to produce iron in this small scale example of metal extraction. The experiment can be used to highlight aspects of the reactivity series.

EXHIBITION-CHEMISTRY-250

The thermite reaction

In association with

Prove that aluminium is a more reactive metal than iron by demonstrating the highly exothermic reaction between aluminium and iron(III) oxide resulting in molten iron.

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Finding the formula of copper(II) oxide

In association with

Students heat copper(II) oxide in a glass tube while passing methane over it. The copper(II) oxide is reduced to copper. If the reactants and products are weighed carefully the formula of the copper oxide can be deduced. This could also be used simply as an example of reduction.

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The ‘whoosh’ bottle demonstration

In association with

A mixture of alcohol and air in a large polycarbonate bottle is ignited. The resulting rapid combustion reaction, often accompanied by a dramatic ‘whoosh’ sound and flames, demonstrates the large amount of energy released in the combustion of alcohols.

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Spontaneous exothermic reaction

In association with

In this demonstration experiment, a mixture of glycerol (propane-1,2,3-triol) and potassium manganate(VII) crystals bursts into flame, giving off clouds of steam, after a short time lag.

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Heating Group 1 metals in air and in chlorine

In association with

This is a demonstration that shows the reactions of Group 1 metals in air and in chlorine.  It does not clearly show the trends in reactivity of Group 1 metals, which are better demonstrated by the reactions in water, which follow on well from this demonstration.

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Generating, collecting and testing gases

In association with

Gases give rise to particular hazards so great care must be taken when preparing, collecting or testing.

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Diffusion in liquids

In association with

Demonstrate the diffusion that takes place in liquids using colourless crystals of lead nitrate and potassium iodide at opposite sides of a petri dish of deionised water.