Lesson Plan: Extracting Aluminum Chemistry

This lesson plan includes the objectives and prerequisites of the lesson teaching students how to describe the extraction of aluminum from its ore using electrolysis.


Students will be able to

  • relate the reactivity of aluminum to the extraction technique,
  • describe the extraction of aluminum from bauxite,
  • explain the role of cryolite in the process,
  • write half equations for the reactions at the electrodes,
  • appreciate the cost implications of an industrial process of this scale.


Students should already be familiar with

  • the electrolysis of molten salts,
  • half equations of electrolysis,
  • oxidation and reduction in terms of the loss or gain of electrons.

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