In partnership with the Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry, and Institute of Physics

Combustion of iron wool

This lesson is designed to exemplify a model-based inquiry approach to practical work.

Iron wool is placed on a simple balance and set alight. Will it gain or lose mass? Students use their own ideas (mental models) to make predictions about the outcome of the experiment. They compare their predictions with their observations, and then use the consensus model to develop an explanation. In this case the consensus model is made up of the equation for the reaction, and particle theory.

Download resources

Resources for this lesson comprise: student sheet; teacher guidance; practical guidance; a presentation; and a short animation. You should also read our standard health & safety guidance.

Quick start guide

For support in using the model-based enquiry approach and to find out more about the research behind it, refer to our quick start guide