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Learning objects Galvanic cells: electrochemical series

TLF ID L8885

View six galvanic cells built from six different combinations of half-cells of copper, zinc, iron and silver. Observe how the voltmeter needle moves when the circuit is complete, and deduce the direction of electron flow in the external circuit and the polarity of the electrodes. Deduce and record which of the two metals in each cell is the stronger reductant. From the recorded observations, deduce the order of the half-equations in the electrochemical series for the four metals tested. This learning object is one in a series of three learning objects.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students identify the direction of electron flow and the polarity of the electrodes in sample galvanic cells.
  • Students deduce which of the two metals used in a galvanic cell is the stronger reductant.
  • Students interpret test results from sample galvanic cells and place the half-equations for the metals tested into their correct order in the electrochemical series.
Educational value
  • Demonstrates how and why galvanic cells can be used to determine the relative strengths of reductants and hence their correct sequence in the electrochemical series.
  • Enables students to conduct a virtual experiment using different combinations of four half-cells to deduce the relative strengths of four metals as reductants.
  • Provides an animation of the movement of electrons in the external circuit of a galvanic cell.
  • Includes options to print the experiment setup and results, summary statements of the experiment and the electrochemical series deduced from the experimental results.
  • Provides additional extension questions as an optional printout.
Year level

11; 12

Learning area
  • science
  • Science/Chemistry
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Experiment;
    • Analysis;
    • Multiple choice questions

    Other details

    • Script writer
    • Name: Rebecca Cox
    • Organisation: CWA New Media
    • Address: Wellington New Zealand
    • URL:
    • Subject matter expert
    • Name: Jenny Sharwood
    • Address: Balwyn North VIC 3104 Australia
    • Technical implementer
    • Organisation: CWA New Media
    • Address: Wellington New Zealand
    • URL:
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL:
    • Educational validator
    • Name: Denis Goodrum
    • Organisation: University of Canberra
    • Address: Canberra ACT Australia
    • URL:
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    • Hearing independence
    • Generic
    Learning resource type
    • Interactive Resource
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    Platform requirements
    • Initial load time may exceed 10 seconds on a dedicated 64 kbit/s connection due to the use of rich media content.
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.