The formation of tarnish is an excellent example of a chemical reaction between a gas and a solid. In this colorful activity, atmospheric oxygen reacts with the copper atoms on post and pre-1982 pennies to produce a blue-green tarnish that is called malachite. The activity is easy to run, all you need are a few rolls of pennies. Students can discover that pennies made before 1982 produce more blue tarnish that pennies made after 1982.
The materials, procedure and result table are provided for students to cut and paste into their notebooks. The recipe for the solution is provided as are handy document camera images of attractive malachite ores, polished gems and jewelry. Simply print and use. There is also an observation page for students to discuss their results.
Click below to explore another activity where students measure the mass of pre and post 1982 pennies and can actually make conclusions about the metal composition changes from the data and graph.
Measuring the Mass of Pre and Post 1982 Pennies
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