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Lesson Plans Library 6-8 > Physical Science
Other Metals
Other Metals
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Physical Science Duration: Two class periods

lesson plan support
Students will
  • Identify and describe the other metals.
  • Discuss some of the properties and common uses of aluminum.
  • Research one aluminum product and create an advertisement for that product highlighting the relevant properties of aluminum.
  • Other Metals video
  • Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Print and online resources about aluminum
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color copier or color printer
  1. After watching the video, have students identify the metals on the periodic table. Next, remind students that there are different types of metals, each with unique properties. Review the different types of metals and where you find each on the periodic table. (Alkali metals are in group (or column) 1; alkaline-earth metals are in group 2; transition metals are in groups 3 through 12; and the "other metals are found in groups 13 through 15, although other elements are found in these groups as well.) Use the periodic table to identify the other metals. (aluminum, gallium, indium, tin, thallium, lead, bismuth)
  2. Next, discuss the properties of the other metals. For example, they are opaque, have relatively high densities, and are generally ductile or bendable. Ask students to use what they learned in the video to list compare the other metals with transition metals. Compared with transition metals, the other metals have these qualities:
    • Softer
    • Have lower boiling and melting points
    • Are more electropositive (they lose valence electrons more easily)
  3. Tell students that the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust is aluminum, an other metal. Aluminum is also used in millions of products around the world. Ask students to name some of the properties of aluminum that make it so useful:
    • Excellent conductor of heat and electricity
    • Nonmagnetic
    • Nonsparking
    • Malleable (the second most malleable metal after gold)
    • Lightweight
    • Durable
    • Resists rust
  4. Have the class identify products made from aluminum, including those mentioned in the video. Create a list on the board, such as the following:
    • Automobiles
    • Electrical transmission lines
    • Car, train, and plane parts
    • Building materials
    • Baseball bats
    • Soda cans
    • Nails
    • Teabag staples
  5. Tell students that their assignment is to research one product made with aluminum and create an advertisement for that product highlighting the relevant and useful properties of aluminum. They can create a print, radio, television, or online ad. Provide appropriate print and online resources about aluminum products. The following website provides helpful information:
  6. Have students develop a mockup, storyboard, or script for their advertisements. Once students have completed the assignment, have them present their advertisements to the class.
  7. After the presentations, review some of the new properties of aluminum students learned about. Finally, discuss the ability to recycle aluminum. What are some new products that could be created by recycled aluminum in the future?

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points: Students were active in class discussions; identified several properties of the other metals and aluminum; developed a creative, engaging advertisement that clearly highlights the relevant properties of aluminum.
  • Two points: Students participated in class discussions; identified some properties of the other metals and aluminum; developed a complete advertisement that highlights the relevant properties of aluminum.
  • One point: Students did not participate in class discussions; identified few or no properties of the other metals and aluminum; developed an incomplete or inaccurate advertisement that does not clearly highlight the relevant properties of aluminum.

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Definition: A soft, silver-white metal that is light, ductile, resistant to corrosion, and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity
Context: Aluminum is used in millions of objects across the globe.

Definition: A substance or body that allows electricity, heat, or sound to pass through it
Context: Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

Definition: The process or effect in which something, especially a metal, is gradually destroyed by chemical action
Context: Since tin does not react readily with oxygen or water, it is often used to protect other metals from corrosion.

Definition: With a positive electric charge; tending to lose valence electrons
Context: The atoms of the other metals are more electropositive than the transition metals.

Definition: An element that is a good conductor of heat and electricity, usually shiny and hard
at normal temperatures
Context: The metal copper was first used for transmission wires because it conducts electricity so well.

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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, visit
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Science-Physical Sciences: Understands the structure and properties of matte
  • Science-Earth and Space Sciences: Understands Earth's composition and structure

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:
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Physical Science
  • Earth and space science
  • Science and Technology

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