Burning money experiment for chemistry

This discrepant event is short but can be made into a lot of fun with a little theater: Find 
the largest dollar bill amount in the classroom. I like to ask the class who the “big shot” is 
in the class and then proceed to ask them how much money they have on them.

From there, proceed with the demonstration. Students will make observations before
 hypothesizing the science behind what transpired.

Video credit: BeardedScienceGuy

The sheet students fill is very short and simple. I print this as a quarter-sheet front and
 back so that students don’t fret about the hypothesis while they are recording their
 observations.

What’s nice is that this works for any level of chemistry student. For general chemistry, 
I’d hint to students that the solution was of rubbing alcohol and water. For AP students I
 would give no hints of the solution, and I challenged them to write about what happened at
 the molecular level.

Note: You can adjust the size of the flame by increasing the IPA concentration. I’ve used
 as much as 70:30 IPA: Water by volume.

Setting the tone for lab work:
 You can use this the next day to highlight examples of stellar observations and hypotheses 
to set the table (or work bench I should say) for lab write ups.

Record your observations:

___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________

Write your hypothesis for what transpired. Be as specific as possible:
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________

Safety:
 Do not perform this experiment near anything flammable. Make sure to know the
 procedures thoroughly and have a fire extinguisher nearby before performing this
 experiment. Follow all lab safety rules carefully.

 If you decide to perform this experiment, you do so at your own risk.

 

Share