Your students will love using pennies to find out about what scientists do! Scientists make good observations, we record our data, we classify things based on similar characteristics, we ask questions, make predictions, and experiment! Fun science activity tie-in with President's Day, American Symbols, or any day!
- Start collecting pennies now or have your students bring some in from home (parent letter included).
- Start off by observing the pennies. A magnifying lens will assist with this. If none are available, add a drop of water and it will provide a slight magnification. Shine a flashlight directly onto the penny to see it even better. Examine the front & back of the penny, use worksheet entitled “Scientists Make Good Observations”. Record data.
-Project the 9 photographs onto your classroom whiteboard to facilitate discussion on pennies, copper, and the Statue of Liberty
-Classify the pennies - put pennies into groups based on similar characteristics. Have your students look at the backs of their pennies and group them based on the picture. Record the number of pennies in each group on the worksheet, “Classifying Pennies”. Detailed information about the 4 types of pennies included.
-Ask questions, make predictions - Have your students examine the differences between the dull and shiny pennies. Can we make the dull pennies clean again? How? Can you predict which cleaning method will work best? Fill out the worksheet entitled “Penny Science Predictions” before doing the penny experiment.
-Set up and carry out a science experiment: what will clean pennies the best? Set up the experiment (colorful experiment mat provided), drop pennies into each solution: ketchup, water, salt, salt water, vinegar, vinegar and salt and see which cleans the pennies the best. Reaction works immediately. The results are SO COOL!!! Record results on worksheet entitled, “Penny Science Experiment Results”.
-Can we turn copper pennies green like the Statue of Liberty turned green? Try the experiment. Directions, explanation, and worksheet included.
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