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In this unit students will study the behaviour of metals and non-metals and their compounds with particular reference to the oxides. The relationship between metal reactivity and the method used for extraction will be discussed. Students will be encouraged to look for patterns in reactivity and behaviour and relate them to atomic structure. The chemistry of non-metal oxides and their influence on the environment will be studied.

Learning targets


The study of Science is by nature collaborative. Large-scale collaboration allows problems to be tackled from different perspectives and for scientists to reap benefits of different disciplines or areas of expertise

C10. Metals

C10.1 Properties of metals

  • Distinguish between metals and non-metals by their general physical and chemical properties
  • Explain why metals are often used in the form of alloys
  • Supplement: Identify and interpret diagrams that represent the structure of an alloy

C10.2 Reactivity series

  • Place in order of reactivity: potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, hydrogen and copper, by reference to the reactions, if any, of the elements with:
    • water or steam
    • dilute hydrochloric acid (except for alkali metals)
  • Supplement: Compare the reactivity series to the tendency of a metal to form its positive ion, illustrated by its reaction, if any, with:
    • the aqueous ions of other listed metals
    • the oxides of the other listed metals
  • Supplement: Deduce an order of reactivity from a given set of experimental results

C10.3 Extraction of metals

  • Describe the use of carbon in the extraction of copper from copper oxide
  • Supplement: Describe the essential reactions in the extraction of iron in the blast furnace
  • Supplement: Relate the method of extraction of a metal from its ore to its position in the reactivity series limited to Group I and II metals, aluminium, iron and copper

C11. Air and water

  • Describe a chemical test for water
  • Describe and explain, in outline, the purification of the water supply by filtration and chlorinationDescribe the composition of clean air as being a mixture of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and small quantities of noble gases, water vapour and carbon dioxide
  • Describe the formation of carbon dioxide:
    • as a product of complete combustion of carbon-containing substances
    • as a product of respiration
    • as a product of the reaction between an acid and a carbonateDescribe the rusting of iron in terms of a reaction involving air and water, and simple methods of rust prevention, including paint and other coatings to exclude oxygen
  • Supplement: Explain why the proportion of carbon dioxide in air is increasing, and why this is important.

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