Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students investigate the chemical changes required to change raw materials into materials ready for manufacturing. They find out how iron, aluminium and plastics are produced. They use chemical equations that show how raw materials are chemically changed into materials that can be used for manufacturing.

This lesson has been developed as part of the Packaging Covenant Schools Recycle Right Challenge for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. Register your lesson or other activities so they can be counted towards the national achievement and to receive other free support materials.


Learning intentions:

  • Students use symbols in chemical equations to show how materials are processed.
  • Students explore the processing of raw materials including the use of heat, electricity and catalysts.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical Thinking                

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 10 Science:

  • Different types of chemical reactions are used to produce a range of products and can occur at different rates (ACSSU187)
  • The atomic structure and properties of elements are used to organise them in the Periodic Table (ACSSU186)

Syllabus Outcomes: SC5-16CW

Year level: 10

Time needed: 50 min

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – assist students with the chemical equations.

Resources needed: Computers, access to the internet including YouTube, scrap paper, scissors and sticky tape.

Digital technology opportunities: Science resources form the internet, interactive periodic table such as

There’s an app for that: Periodic Table of the Elements – Standard periodic table of the elements – a necessity for anyone interested in or even exposed chemistry. You can select a chemical attribute and have the entire chart colour coded to plainly show the different elements.

Assumed prior learning: Use of the periodic table, use of symbols to represent elements, have written some chemical reactions as equations.

Keywords: Aluminium, alumina, ferrous, iron, ethylene, polyethylene, anode, cathode, pot, furnace.


Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

These Planet Ark resources were developed by Cool Australia with funding from the Alcoa Foundation.



Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Overarching learning goals: Use symbols in chemical equations to show how materials are processed. Explore the processing of raw materials including the use of heat, electricity and catalysts.

Teacher content information: Manufacturing Material Information Sheet

Hot tips: Use an interactive periodic table to understand the properties of elements, such as

Teaching Sequence

Part 1: Raw materials

  • Students read about raw materials for aluminium and iron in their Student Worksheet.
  • The internet is used to find two locations where iron ore is mined.
  • They find two locations where bauxite is mined.
  • They are provided with a commodities website where they can compare the daily fluctuating prices of the more expensive metals. 
  • They read material about polystyrene.
  • Using Google Maps/satellite they describe aspects of an oil refinery.
  • They use Video 7. Video on manufacturing materials to s
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Student Worksheet

Thought starters: What would it be like working as a blacksmith, making horse shoes from long strips of metal?

Part 1: Raw materials

Iron and aluminium are very common substances in the Earth’s crust. They are in the form of compounds often called minerals and can be part of rock crystals. Iron rich soils like the soils in central Australia are red in colour. While iron and aluminium are a significant component of the Earth’s crust, to process it requires high concentrations. High concentrations of iron compounds are called iron ore. In Australia the high concentrations of aluminium compounds are in minerals called bauxite. These minerals are extracted from vast open cut mines. They must be transported to the coast where they are loaded onto bulk carriers (type of ship) and shipped to a port where the mineral will be processed into metal.

i. Use the internet to find:

Two Australian locations where iron ore is mined

Two Australian locations where bauxite is mined:

- or - to view worksheets

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