A precision measuring procedure where students determine the average mass of pre and post 1982 pennies. From the data students can conclude that the metal composition of pennies changed in 1982. Directions to run the activity are completely described. The packet comes with the data table and custom graph paper is provided.
This is also an excellent critical thinking activity, as students can infer from the graph that a mixture of zinc and copper pennies was made in 1982. All the science behind the activity and results are presented.
A grading rubric for the activity is included. The activity requires the availability of triple or double pan balances. There is a significant set up the first time you run the activity as you must gather all the pennies. You might have students help you. Be sure you keep the pennies for next year.
Pennies made before and after 1982 will tarnish differently as well. Click here to explore a colorful penny activity! Blue Pennies
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