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Chemical Reaction Experiment

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Written by Marci Goodwin of The Homeschool Scientist.

Kids love the idea magic potions. Who hasn’t dreamed of mixing a little this and a little that to get an unexpected reaction?

Simple chemical reaction experiments are kind of like magic potions. Sometimes everyday kitchen ingredients, when mixed together, can do amazing things. These kinds of experiments are great ways to introduce kids to chemistry.

Chemical Reaction Experiment

 

You probably have all the ingredients for this magic potion in your kitchen right now. Grab the kids and tell them to prepare to be amazed.

Chemical Reaction Experiment

Penny Chemistry Supplies needed

  • 2 pennies (the dirtier the better)
  • vinegar
  • salt
  • paper towel
Chemical Reaction Experiment

Directions

Step 1: Note the color of the pennies.

Step 2: Place the pennies in a bowl and shake a little salt onto them.

chemical reaction experiment

Step 3: Cover the pennies and salt with vinegar.

Chemical reaction experiment

Step 4: Leave the pennies in the bowl for a 4-5 minutes.

chemical reaction experiment

Step 5: Remove the pennies from the bowl and note the color of the pennies.

Step 6: Rinse of the pennies under water.

Step 7: Place the pennies in a windowsill to dry.

Step 8: Note of the color of the pennies after a couple hours.

What’s Happening

The acetic acid of the vinegar reacts with the salt, or sodium chloride, to produce sodium acetate and hydrogen chloride. Hydrogen chloride is a strong acid and when combined sodium acetate they rapidly clean the surface of the penny. Since pennies are made of mostly copper, the cleaning process reveals the shiny copper color.

Rinsing stopped the chemical reaction that cleaned the pennies. Eventually, the copper will react with the oxygen in the air and the rinsed penny will dull. This will take a long duration of time.

chemical reaction experiment

However, the salt and vinegar left on the unrinsed penny causes a different reaction between the copper and the oxygen in the air. As a result, copper oxide was formed and the penny turned a blue-green color in just a couple hours.

Try this experiment at home with your kids. Vary the amounts of salt and vinegar and test the reaction time.

Trish is one of the owners of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Hip Homeschool Moms, Homeschool Road Trips and Only Passionate Curiosity. Trish is from the coast of North Carolina, but they now live in rural West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. She has been married to her best friend, David, for 23 years and they have three sons (ages 20, 18 and 16). She has been homeschooling since 2009 and her homeschool style leans towards a Montessori approach with a heavy emphasis on hands-on learning. Trish’s family is Messianic and they love studying the Scriptures and growing in their faith. In her spare time, Trish loves to travel, work in their garden, work puzzles, and play games with the family.

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3 Comments

  1. I love this! My kids make “potions” on their own all the time (which generally means I have a lot of cleaning up to do and more mouthwash to buy) so I know they will love this experiment. Thanks!
    Amy

  2. This is awesome! If there is one area where my teaching skills are lacking it is science. This experiment looks very simple and fun, and you explained it so well that I will be able to articulate the main points back to my girls when we try this out! Which we will, because I can already tell this would be a project my middle daughter would have a blast with. She is my budding scientist (poor thing had to have a mom with a lack of science know how). Thanks for sharing this!!

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