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Penny for Your Thoughts

Source Institutions

    New York Hall of Science

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Penny for Your Thoughts

In this activity, learners copper-plate metal objects by placing them in a jar with pennies and vinegar. Use this activity to introduce learners to acids, metals, and chemical reactions. This resource includes links to related resources as well as instructions for an electroplating activity. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • One small jar with lid
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • 15 Pennies (or other copper items, e.g. copper wire)
  • A steel paper clip (or other small iron-containing object, e.g. nail)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
      • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
      • Solutions
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Elements and Periodic Table
      • Elementary Particles and Nuclear Physics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • TryScience


  • All Rights Reserved, TryScience/New York Hall of Science, ©1999


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