Vibrating Pennies

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Conduct a simple experiment to explore how temperature changes can make things expand or contract. Investigate how the heat from your hands warms air in a bottle and lifts a penny sitting on the mouth of the bottle. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Some pennies
  • Bowl of cold water
  • Plastic bottle (the opening should be slightly smaller than a penny)
  • Cooking oil


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Del Monte, 2013