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In the Hollow Penny Chemistry Laboratory Kit, students discover the chemical composition of post-1982 pennies using redox chemistry. Students “hollow out” a post-1982 penny, only to see that the pennies are composed mostly of zinc!

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Pennies are made of copper, aren't they? The outside certainly is, but that's not the whole story. In this laboratory activity, students will investigate the chemical composition of post-1982 pennies using redox chemistry. Ideally performed as an open-ended inquiry-based activity, students will “hollow out” a post-1982 penny to determine quantitatively that these pennies are composed mostly of zinc with only a small amount of copper. Students will use the activity series of metals to explain their laboratory observations. Instructions are included for performing this activity as a standard lab instead of an open-ended lab if desired. Includes reproducible student handouts and complete Teacher Notes with sample data and answers to questions, plus all chemicals and pennies needed to perform the lab. Complete for 30 students working in pairs.