The Alchemist's Dream – Copper into "Gold"

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Many scientists attempted alchemy for hundreds of years before a full understanding of metals became clear. Scholars take a penny and, through two different chemical reactions, make it appear to turn into silver and later gold. They learn about chemical reactions, solutes, and solvents over the course of the activity.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Discuss why a pre-1980 penny makes a difference in the safety of the experiment
Classroom Considerations

  • Requires pre-1980 pennies for each pupil
  • Remind scholars to follow all safety rules with the hot plates, almost boiling solution, and to properly dispose of flammable materials
Pros

  • Requires common materials
  • Provides a reference to a specific textbook for further learning
Cons

  • None
Common Core