Chemistry Students Alter Color of Pennies

On Thursday November 13, chemistry teacher Keith Gray’s class completed a penny lab. The process of the lab ended in changing the pennies from a copper color to a gold color.

 At the start of the experiment, junior Sarah Reed lit the Bunsen burner with a flint igniter by squeezing it and rubbing the metal together similar to a match. The students needed to light the Bunsen burner in order to heat up the substance to react with the zinc in the penny and to create the zinc plated penny and therefore the silver color.  Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
At the start of the experiment, junior Sarah Reed lit the Bunsen burner with a flint igniter by squeezing it and rubbing the metal together similar to a match. The students needed to light the Bunsen burner in order to heat up the substance to react with the zinc in the penny and to create the zinc plated penny and therefore the silver color. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Junior Isabella Hickey picked up the beaker with the beaker tongs after the pennies had a few minutes to react in the substance. After taking the pennies out of the beaker, they had to be thoroughly cleaned off in order to make sure there was no more zinc powder on them. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Junior Isabella Hickey picked up the beaker with the beaker tongs after the pennies had a few minutes to react in the substance. After taking the pennies out of the beaker, they had to be thoroughly cleaned off in order to make sure there was no more zinc powder on them. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
After the penny was turned silver, the students put it into the flame of the Bunsen burner for a few seconds, which allowed the penny to turn to a gold color. The pennies are brass alloys, which is a substance, composed of two or more metals, in this case copper and zinc. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
After the penny was turned silver, the students put it into the flame of the Bunsen burner for a few seconds, which allowed the penny to turn to a gold color. The pennies are brass alloys, which is a substance, composed of two or more metals, in this case copper and zinc. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Chemistry teacher Keith Gray helped one group of students in the process of their lab. Earlier in the lab, this same group of students had some trouble and the substance in their beaker overflowed, but they did as Gray had told them and took the flame away before there was any large amount of damage. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
Chemistry teacher Keith Gray helped one group of students in the process of their lab. Earlier in the lab, this same group of students had some trouble and the substance in their beaker overflowed, but they did as Gray had told them and took the flame away before there was any large amount of damage. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
The color of the pennies changed from their original copper color at the beginning of the experiment to a gold color at the end of the experiment. The pennies did not actually turn silver or gold; they just looked those colors because of the reactions that they went through in the substance that consisted of sodium hydroxide and zinc powder. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
The color of the pennies changed from their original copper color at the beginning of the experiment to a gold color at the end of the experiment. The pennies did not actually turn silver or gold; they just looked those colors because of the reactions that they went through in the substance that consisted of sodium hydroxide and zinc powder. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
The students weighed the mass of the pennies before and after the experiment took place. The pennies did not change in mass from when they were a copper color to when they were a gold color. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
The students weighed the mass of the pennies before and after the experiment took place. The pennies did not change in mass from when they were a copper color to when they were a gold color. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online

After the lab was completed, Reed began to complete the packet that went along with the experiment. This standard packet consisted of a page to write down all of the experimental measurements found throughout the lab and also a page of reflection questions about what the students learned in this particular lab. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online
After the lab was completed, Reed began to complete the packet that went along with the experiment. This standard packet consisted of a page to write down all of the experimental measurements found throughout the lab and also a page of reflection questions about what the students learned in this particular lab. Credit: Gillian Guerin for Manchester Essex Multimedia Online

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