STEAM Saturday – Green Pennies! (6/3/2023)

For STEAM Saturday this week, we’ve got the perfect experiment for the little scientist in your house… We’re going to learn about chemical reactions by turning pennies green!  This fun and easy science experiment will uncover the mystery of the Statue of Liberty.

You can do this activity with items that are already in your home:

  • White Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Bowl or Dish
  • Paper Towel
  • Copper Pennies

First, let’s explain how this science project works!  Pennies have an outer layer of copper oxide.  When you soak them in vinegar and salt, the outer layer dissolves.  This allows the copper to easily mix with oxygen in the air and the chlorine in the salt, creating Malachite, the bluish-green coating you will see on your pennies.  A great example of copper oxidation is the Statue of Liberty.  Once, she was a beautiful copper color, but as she has been exposed to oxygen, salty air, and weather, she is now the cool blue-green color we all recognize!

Now it is time to turn a penny green by creating a chemical reaction with vinegar.  Fold your paper towel into several thick layers.  Place your pennies on the paper towel and carefully pour (you might need to help your kiddos pour) the vinegar over the pennies and paper towel.  Sprinkle salt over the pennies.

Since you are performing this experiment in a controlled environment, you can speed up the process by using salt, vinegar and air.  Within about 10 to 30 minutes, you should start to see changes in your pennies.  They should start to turn white and then green within 24 hours.  This project is an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to get your little one excited about science!

See the full project from SteamSational  HERE and be sure to watch the video on this site to see how turning a penny green works!

As always, get as creative as you want, and above all, have lots of fun learning together!

We’ll see you right back here next Saturday for another STEAM Saturday activity!  Scroll through the rest of our website to learn how Critchlow Adkins is Building Brighter Futures for the children and families we serve!

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