Young Students Raise Money for the Coins for Cleaner Water Initiative


The ChemClub with their pennies!
The ChemClub with their pennies!

The Homeschools of Centre County Chem Club currently has 8 members spanning first through sixth grade. The kids have thoroughly enjoyed diving into Chemistry and learning about observing clues for chemical changes in the lab and in the world around us.

So far they have learned about 4 clues that a chemical change has taken place:

  1. The production of gas
  2. A color change
  3. The formation of a precipitate
  4. Temperature change.

The kids especially enjoyed the challenge of conducting an exothermic reaction that reached a temperature result of 40 – 50 degrees Celsius! During one of our meetings, the kids were able to use the purification packet to see the transformation from dirty water to clean water, while also observing the formation of a precipitate, our 3rd “clue” for a chemical change.

The Homeschools of Centre County ChemClub were very enthusiastic about collecting pennies for such an important cause as providing safe drinking water for children around the world. They emptied their piggy banks and even exchanged dollar bills for rolls of pennies at the local bank! With such a plethora of pennies to experiment with, they discovered what pennies are made of underneath their copper coating by sanding off some of the coating and submerging the penny in hydrochloric acid. They observed the acid reacting with the zinc inside it until the penny was hollow and paper thin! They also tested water’s “skin” by placing drops of water on the surface of a penny, and then doing the same procedure with water mixed with dish detergent and noting that plain water has a much stronger “skin” or surface tension.

Thank you to the ACS for encouraging us not only to expand our knowledge about chemistry but also taking action locally and globally to help others. One member said, “It was neat to see how something small like pennies add up to take care of something big – like clean water!”


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