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A Penny Saved is a Penny Heard

Source Institutions

    University of Washington

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A Penny Saved is a Penny Heard

In this activity (11th activity on the page), learners use pennies to test their hearing acuity. Learners collect pennies, drop them one at a time on a hard surface and listen to the sounds they make. They may observe that newer pennies have a duller sound than older pennies that seem to "ring." Learners collect data, compare and can share their findings with the author of this activity. This activity page includes a link to background information about the ear and hearing.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Pennies...the more the better. Both pre- and post-1981.


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Collecting


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Chudler, Ph.D., Eric H.


  • All Rights Reserved, Eric H. Chudler, ©2009


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