A CIESE Collaborative Project

Experiment Instructions

The steps involved in doing this experiment are relatively simple. However, to ensure accuracy of the data, please follow the instructions exactly! Even small mistakes may cause your results to be off and this will greatly affect the students' ability to analyze the data.

Materials

  • Container for heating water
  • Distilled water (not tap or spring water)
  • Celsius thermometer (should have at least 1 degree intervals)
  • Heat source (bunsen burner, hot plate, etc.)
  • Printable Student Instructions and Data Sheets (optional):

Procedure

  1. Decide, as a class, the volume of water (in mL) that will be used for the experiment and record on your data sheet. You can use any volume of water between 250 - 750 mL. All students in the same class must use the same exact volume of water. Different classes may use different volumes of water (example: all students in Period 2 class use 475 mL of water and all students in Period 7 class use 550 mL of water).

  2. Decide, as a class, the heating device that will be used for the experiment and record on your data sheet. All students in the same class must use the same type of heating device. Different classes may use different heating devices (example: all students in Period 2 class use a hot plate and all students in Period 7 class use a bunsen burner).

  3. Decide, as a class, the elevation of your classroom (in meters) and record on your data sheet. If possible, try to find the exact elevation of your school (might be on school blueprints or a local topographic map). If you have access to a GPS unit, you can find the exact elevation of your classroom. If this information is not readily available, use the elevation for your city or town.

  4. Calibrate each of the thermometers that you will be using for the experiment. Record the results on your data sheet.

  5. Measure the air temperature in the room (in Celsius) and record on your data sheet. Be sure to include any calibration corrections.

  6. Measure out the exact volume of distilled water that your class decided on and pour into your container.

    • Note: It is very important that you use distilled water and not tap or spring water. Depending on the minerals that are present in your tap or spring water, the boiling point could be off by as much as 2 or 3 degrees!

  7. Place a thermometer in the water so that the bulb is several centimeters above the bottom of the container. Do not let the bulb of the thermometer rest on the bottom of the container and do not hold the thermometer in place. You can clamp the thermometer in place or use a rubber band to secure it to a piece of wood that you can place in the water.

  8. Begin to heat the water. Take temperature readings every 30 seconds and record on your data sheet.

  9. Continue recording temperature until it remains constant for at least 5 minutes. This is the boiling point. Record the boiling point on your data sheet (Celsius). Be sure to include any calibration corrections.

  10. Do this experiment on three different days (preferably 3 days in a row) to account for any differences in atmospheric conditions. Please use the same type of heating device and the same volume of water that each class had used previously. Record the room temperature and boiling point temperature on your data sheet each day.

  11. Determine the average room temperature and average boiling point temperature for the 3 days and record on your data sheet.

  12. Determine the average boiling point based on results from the entire class over the 3 day period. Also determine the class average room temperature for the 3 day period.

  13. One person in the class (teacher or designated student) should submit your class results to the project web site. Your class results will include:

    • Heating device used by class
    • Volume of water used by class (mL)
    • Elevation (meters)
    • Class average room temperature (Celsius)
    • Class average boiling point (Celsius)