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Transition MetalsTransition-Metals

  • Subject: Physical Science
  • |
  • Grade(s): 6-8
  • |
  • Duration: Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will
  • Identify and describe transition metals.
  • Discuss alloys and their benefits.
  • Research one common alloy, its composition, properties, and uses.

Materials


  • Transition Metals video
  • Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Print and online resources about common alloys
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color copier or color printer

Procedures

  1. After watching the video, have students identify the transition metals on a periodic table. (They are the elements in groups 3 through 12 .) Point out that this is the largest group of elements. What are some familiar transition metals? (Iron, copper, silver, gold, zinc ) What are some common properties of most transition metals? (Hard, dense, shiny, high melting and boiling points, good conductors of heat and electricity, malleable, and ductile )
  2. Next, ask students to identify the material used to make the aircraft carrier in the video. (Steel) Explain that steel is an alloy, not an element or pure metal. An alloy is a solid material made by mixing a metal with another substance (usually another metal). Ask students to predict the advantage of creating alloys. (They combine the desirable properties of the elements .) Explain that steel is an alloy of mostly iron, with some carbon. Steel is much stronger than pure iron. Adding other metals to steel makes even stronger or more durable materials called steel alloys. In the video, the elements chromium, manganese, and vanadium were added to steel to make special alloys for the aircraft carriers.
  3. Tell students that they'll be exploring several common alloys made from transition metals. Provide a chart like the one below on a wall or bulletin board. Assign small groups of students to one of the alloys in the chart. Provide appropriate print and online resources and have each group research the information needed to complete the chart.
    Name of alloy Composition (elements) Properties Common uses
    brass      
    bronze      
    14-karat gold      
    pewter      
    solder      
    stainless steel      
    sterling silver      
    wrought iron      
  4. During their research, ask each group to gather three color images of objects made of the assigned alloy. They may cut images from magazines, print out color images from the Internet, or make color copies from books. Tell studentsnotto label these images.
  5. When they've completed their research, have one member of each group complete the chart for the assigned alloy. In addition, have the group turn in their images to you.
  6. Review the chart with the class, then show students some of the images of objects made of different alloys. Have students examine each object and guess what alloy it's made of. Then discuss why that alloy was an ideal material for the object.

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Evaluation


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points:  Students were active in class discussions; showed a strong understanding of transition metals and alloys; researched all the required information for their assigned alloy and found at least three appropriate images; correctly identified and described several alloys from their images.
  • Two points:  Students participated in class discussions; showed a satisfactory understanding of transition metals and alloys; researched the required information for their assigned alloy and found at two or three appropriate images; correctly identified and described a few alloys from their images.
  • One point:  Students did not participate in class discussions; showed a weak understanding of transition metals and alloys; researched little or none of the required information for their assigned alloy and found at only one appropriate image; could not correctly identify or describe any of the alloys from their images.

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Vocabulary


alloy
Definition : A solid substance made by mixing a metal with another substance (usually another metal)
Context : Many transition metals can be combined to create metal alloys that are vital for modern construction, commerce, and industry.

element
Definition : A substance that is composed of one type of atom; an element cannot be chemically separated.
Context : The elements iron, nickel, and titanium are used in technology production.

metal
Definition : An element that is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and is usually shiny and hard at normal temperatures.
Context : As with all metals, most of the transition metals are malleable and ductile, meaning they can be flattened into sheets or pulled into long wires without breaking.

steel
Definition : An alloy of iron and carbon that is hard, strong, and malleable
Context : As the iron cools, the carbon is trapped within or binds with the iron molecules, creating a much stronger metal: steel.

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Academic Standards


Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visithttp://www.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Science-Physical Sciences: Understands the structure and properties of matter

National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences provides guidelines for teaching science in grades K-12 to promote scientific literacy. To view the standards, visit this Web site: http://books.nap.edu/html/nses/html/overview.html#content.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Physical Science
  • Science and Technology

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