Penny Drop

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In this quick activity about the properties of water (page 1 of PDF under SciGirls Activity: Malformed Frogs), learners will use an eyedropper to slowly place one drop of water at a time onto a penny, counting the number of drops until the water spills over the edge. Besides searching for the greatest number drops a penny will hold, drops of milk or vegetable oil can be tested in addition to water, raising the question, "What property of water allows it to pile up this way?" Relates to the linked video, DragonflyTV: Malformed Frogs.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • a penny, and other coins
  • an eyedropper
  • water, or other liquids


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
    • Number and Operations
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Science Festivals Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group
    • Highlights STEM opportunities for this group
    • Identifies role models or mentors in STEM fields from this group
    • Uses inclusive images of people from this group


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2005

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 436260