This was a quick and fun experiment, with speedy results… which is what you want with a 3 year old boy whose name begins with M. Although I’ve seen this experiment around, I actually decided to do it after seeing it in Play and Find Out About Science, by Janice VanCleave.
We found a handful of old, darkened pennies: (Eek! Don’t look at my stained bowls throughout this post, please!)
M mixed 1/4 tsp of salt into 1/2 cup of white vinegar:
Then we placed the dirtiest of the dirty pennies in the solution. M spilled vinegar in the process and by the time I had it cleaned up and was ready to snap a photo of the bowl, they looked like this: It was about 2 minutes and they were already getting super-shiny! We did this part over and over with all our pennies, and talked about how copper is a metal and oxidizes when it’s out in the air. So now my 3 year old is walking around saying “oxidized”. :) He has future nerd written all over him.
Later we found a shiny paperclip and more dirty pennies. We mixed up another salt and vinegar solution and placed the paperclip and pennies in it together: Then we waited. A couple of hours later we checked and here’s what our silver paperclip looked like: The metal on the paperclip attracted the copper particles that the pennies shed in the vinegar.
I’m not sure M took a whole lot of knowledge away from this experiment, but he really enjoyed it and had fun!
For more fun science experiments, check out Ticia’s Science Sunday post here!
Have a beautiful day! :)