Monday, July 23, 2012

Build teamwork with fun experiment

Years ago I came across this experiment to try at the start of the year in Kindergarten. I have used it to build a team-working philosophy.  Every time it fosters such fun and a memory none of the students will forget!  It is a great anchor event that you can refer to all year. 

You will need:
  • Iodized salt
  • Vinegar (regular or apple cider)
  • Old dull pennies (More than enough with one for each student)

I begin the lesson by gathering the class together on the carpet. I explain that I was looking to give them each a "lucky" penny as a small token for their first week of school.

"I knew I had put a bunch of them tucked away in a special container...  Can you believe how disappointed I was when I opened it  and found this..."

Then I put them out on the floor.

"They were really shiny and I was sure you would love them. But look!"

We look and explore... Next I tell them I that I remembered on old recipe with ingredients listed above. Sadly I am not sure how to do it. "Let's see what we can do..."

So we go back to our tables and I pass out the pennies and we try the salt first. I give each child a small bowl and I sprinkle some salt on the pennies. We all agree that we should try scrubbing. And of course, that doesn't work.



 This leads to the idea of trying the vinegar. So I give them a new bowl. We wipe of the penny and put it in the bowl with a little vinegar. You really do not need much. Just enough to cover the penny.

Repeat the same procedure... rub, rub, rub. Nothing changes. (Some will complain about the smell. So I use the apple cider. It helps a little.)


Inevitably, someone will suggest  "putting the salt and vinegar together."   Let the magic begin.

Have the students pour the salt from the first bowl on top of the penny in the bowl with the vinegar. As soon as the salt hits the penny in the bowl with the vinegar, the penny changes right before your very eyes. Seriously, all you need to do is lightly swish the liquid around. That penny will really shine.
Check this out!  It works every time!

So here it the opportunity to explain that this experiment is like our classroom.
 I as the teacher cannot do the work all by myself. 
The students cannot do it all on their own.
But, together, the possibilities are endless.
I then have children play with the penny, tracing, rubbing... and finally we tape it on the paper for them to take home.
Hope you try it.
P.S. You can even offer some cider and vinegare potato chips as a snack!


  1. That's such a unique twist on a great science experiment. Love it! I am your newest follower. Glad I found your blog. Karla

  2. Thanks. I know you will love it. So simple and yet so powerful!
    Enjoy your weekend.