Mary Shoemaker (Pennsylvania State University, USA), Stephen Stilianos (Central Bucks West High School, USA)
The following activity allows High School students to 1. learn about oxidation and reduction in an electrolytic cell and 2. generate their own activity series of metals. The lab procedure will have students plate copper, nickel, and zinc metal onto small plastic dinosaurs (or similar objects)using a 1.5 volt battery. Once plated, the dinosaurs’ new “armor” can be tested in a bath of hydrochloric acid. Students then use their results to determine the relative reactivities of these metals as the copper plated dinosaur should be the only one which does not react. This can serve as a great introduction to the activity series. This experiment has not been used in the classroom yet, so suggestions for assessment will be appreciated.