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Calorimeter Lab for Biology, Physical Science, or Chemistry

Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Adult Education
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Activity
5 pages
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Welcome to my user-friendly version of the classic calorimeter lab for high school biology, chemistry, or physical science! I started out facilitating a Prentice Hall version of this lab back in the mid-1990s at my first school. I have continued the tradition of facilitating this lab in my biology classes the last couple of decades, implementing improved versions of this lab every year. As stated earlier, this lab also has direct interdisciplinary ties with the other sciences, notably with the thermal energy unit in physical science and in a biochemistry unit in chemistry.

This listing features a three-page student calorimeter lab sheet and a three-page key with the standard answers in red font.

Students fill in the open sections of the lab sheet and submit it for the lab report. In my version of the calorimeter lab, students will:

  • Write a hypothesis
  • Record observations in a data table
  • Write a conclusion with consideration of the variables that may have affected the results such as student error
  • Restate the hypothesis in the conclusion and state whether it was correct, partially correct, or incorrect
  • Analyze the nutrient label to explain the macromolecule content per serving for

each sample of food in relation to the Calories burned

  • Use the provided equations to calculate the kcal and then the kcal/gram (Calories) for all three samples of food
  • Practice safe lab procedures

Important! The facilitating teacher will need the following supplies standard for this lab for each lab group.

  • Small box/set of matches
  • White marshmallow
  • Pecan
  • Cheese puff
  • Thermometer
  • Access to a digital balance
  • 100-ml beaker to measure 50 ml of tap water
  • Ring stand
  • Circular clamp
  • Glass stirring rod
  • Empty soda/pop can with an intact tab
  • Large cork wrapped in aluminum foil with a pin or a half of a straightened-out paper clip projecting upwards from it
  • Plastic weigh boat or filter paper on which to mass the food samples
  • A set of lab aprons and safety goggles
  • The nutrient label on the manufacturer’s package of the three foods for student


In this lab, students will test their hypothesis by experimentally determining the change in mass of the food samples and the temperature change of the water suspended above the burning food sample. Students will then use that data to calculate the kcal and the kcal/g (Calories) released upon the combustion of the food. The food selection may be altered.

The lab questions also direct students to record experimental (student) errors and how the macromolecule content per serving of the food samples affected the number of Calories burned.

This lab manual is now published as a TpT Digital Activity! In the new version, students can type the data and answers to the questions in the text boxes I inserted into the PDF document. This feature will enable the students to complete and submit the electronic lab sheet in the instructor's dropbox if learning has to occur from a remote location.

This PDF file will become editable upon conversion to Microsoft Word using the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC app.

This resource complements the following activities related to thermal energy in my store.

Thermal Energy and Heat Unit Test or Study Guide


Phase Change Identification and Analysis Activity


Conduction, Convection, and Radiation, oh my!


Check out my store for dozens of other quality field-tested, innovative, practical, and user-friendly products for several other fields of science - Biology, Chemistry, Field Ecology, Physical Science, Space Science and Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Thank you for your interest. I began launching my curriculum line through TpT in 2018. I have over twenty years of teaching and curriculum writing experience as the department head. I joined TpT with seventeen years of publishing experience.

Total Pages
5 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
55 minutes
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