A CIESE Collaborative Project

Fall 2005 Student Reports

Hoover Middle School

Kenmore, New York

5 teachers from Hoover Middle school and their students participated in this project and analyzed all the results. We spent a lot of time plotting all those points on 4 different graphs.

Mrs. Pudlak's classes: We graphed all the points by hand. Then we compared them with scatter points on the Excel spreadsheet program. We finally understand the relationship between boiling points and elevation because the air pressure changes.

Ms. HusVar's Science Champions: Our initial hypothesis was incorrect. We thought that volume would be the biggest key factor in the experiment. We were surprised to see that elevation was the key factor. We think it would be fun to try boiling different liquids and seeing their results.

Mr. Spengler's classes: We found no trend or correlation in the heating devices, room temperature or volume of water used. We did find a negative trend with the elevation and boiling point. Most of the students got the initial hypothesis wrong. Now they realize why they have to cook stuff longer when they were camping in the Rocky Mountains.

Mr. LoVullo's class: We did this project on three different floors of our building. But we thought that the amount of water to start would be more important in the boiling point. Now we know it just takes longer to heat up more water and the boiling point stays the same.

Mrs. Tundo's class: We had hypothesized that air pressure would affect the temperature that water boiled. Since the data did not require us to measure air pressure the teacher explained the relationship between air pressure and elevation. We did see that as elevation increased boiling point decreased.
We had fun doing the experiment and our hypothesis was correct. We put all the variable data in order from lowest value to highest value. This made it easier to see a pattern if there was one and to graph the data, but it took a long time. It was interesting to see how to calibrate a thermometer for the experiment. It would be fun to do another international experiment next year.

Thank you for allowing us to participate in this kind of project. It was interesting seeing results from everyone else.


Sparta Middle School

Sparta, New Jersey

Greetings once again, fellow boiler buddies!

Our class has learned from this experiment that elevation affects the boiling point of water, but room temperature does not. We also learned how to calibrate thermometers and how to make graphs using Excel. Our results were interpreted by graphing each variable against the boiling point.

In conclusion, only elevation affects the boiling point because the air pressure changes with elevation and makes it easier or more difficult to reach the boiling point.

Next time, we would probably use all the same types of hot plates. We noticed that some hot plates heated up faster than others. Also, we would try to insure that the data sent in is accurate.

We've had a lot of fun and gained valuable knowledge from this experiment. We hope you have as well.

Sincerely, Mrs. Ciolino's 5th period science class


Southwest Magnet High School & Law Academy

Macon, Georgia

Physical Science 2

If given the choice again - "How would you like to do a lab boiling water?" we don't think we are going jump so quick. It was fun at first but turned into more than we expected. We are glad to report that our prediction was right. There was a difference in boling point due to elevation.

We learned so many things while doing this lab that it is amazing. Mr. C made us use everything from kinetic energy to surface tension with this lab and we still are not finished with what he's asking for us to do. We are continuing with this lab for the rest of the semester looking at how the barometric presure affects the boiling point at a given location. While looking at the data we knew that different schools would get different results but we had four different results from our school so there has to be an explanation.

It was fun to really do something that was so simple but see how the different topics of physical science could be used. Hopefully this lab will help us as we take our End of Course Test in December because we were always having to use something from earlier in the course to answer the new questions that our teacher was giving us about the lab.


Southwest Magnet High School & Law Academy

Macon, Georgia

Physical Science 3

We are glad that we had a chance to participate in the lab. Our original hypothesis was proven correct in that the elevation will make a difference in the boling point of water. We did, however, originally think that we would see big differences in the boiling points.

At first we thought that this was a simple little lab but we found out that we used a lot of concepts from our class such as: heating curve, phase change, kinetic energy, thermal energy and its transfer, scatter plots and best line fits, and specific heat. We successfully calculated what our boiling point should have been using a table, as well as calculated the amount of heat gained. Our teacher had us doing so much with this that it became more work that it looked like at the begining.

We enjoyed the lab and it helped us see how different science ideas work together. For our final work this semester we are trying to figure out why the different classes in our school had different boiling points. We will be looking at the room temperature, but that doesn't make much sense, and the barometric pressure since it was changing during the day.

Thanks for the lab.


Southwest Magnet High School & Law Academy

Macon, Georgia

Physical Science 4

This was a good lab to take part in. We have learned a lot about what goes into something as simple as boiling water. The most important thing that we learned was how the first steps of the scientific process really work. We sent in our hypothesis based on what we found on two web sites. We said that we thought that the elevation would make a difference in the boiling point. From looking at the data and forming a line of best fit, we agree that the hypothesis was right.

We have boiled water so many times that it looks like a cooking class but every week we find out some other topic that we should have researched to give our hypothesis and we find that something else in Physical science explains what happens. This semester our teacher will not have us submit a science fair project but the final report for this lab. We hope that what we have learned about researching and providing reasons for an answer will help us in the future.

Thank you for this experience.


Southwest Magnet High School & Law Academy

Macon, Georgia

We are glad we had a chance to do the lab. We had said that the elevation would make a difference in the boiling temperature of water and we were right.

We made a scatter plot from the information and it did look like the temperature went down when the elevation went up. We were able to use things that we normally don't use like - hot plates, computer probes, graduated cylinders. We never knew that computers could graph in a science lab or how you could find elevation and where the school was located on a map with its coordinates. We also got to use the internet to find the local weather.

We enjoyed working in a regular class setting and we feel that we are able to take on challenging science tasks.


Toledo Christian Schools

Toledo, Ohio

Honors Chemistry

Toledo Christian Schools Conclusion: Our conclusion is that, for this experiment, elevation is the only variable that had correlation with the boiling point of water. To figure out what did or did not have an effect on the boiling point we made a scatter plot of each variable (elevation, room temperature, volume of water, heating device) verses the boiling point. The scatter plot that shows positive or negative correlation must be the variable that has the effect on the boiling point.

We first started with elevation vs. the boiling point, because that was our first guess as to what affected the boiling point. Unfortunately, the graphs will not upload here.

From the data observed, we have concluded that the boiling point of water is only affected by the elevation above or below sea level.


Oberlin High School

Oberlin, Louisiana

Our two eighth grade classes at Oberlin High School participated in the Boiling Point Project for the fall of 2005. Each class selected the device to use for heating the water to boiling point. The results form each class are as follows.

First period class decided to use a gas powered device to heat the water. A Bunsen burner was not available so a propane camp stove was used. Rather than use thermometers to measure the temperature, the class was able to use Palm Zire 71 handhelds with PowerLink temperature probes attached. The class was excited to use such high tech measuring devices. A pencil was attached to each probe that was used to measure the water temperature to keep it off the bottom of the beaker. The Palm handheld measured and recorded the temperature every second. The average boiling point temperatures and room temperatures were determined and reported to the project web site. We analyzed the data when it was available. We used MS Excel to make scatter plot graphs and charts of the data. The graphs of volume of water and room temperature had scattered data and didnt indicate trends. The chart of devices showed no clear temperature associated with each device. The elevation graph had many points that came close to the trend line. We learned that elevation has the most effect upon boiling point. We discussed the points that were farther away from the line of best fit and learned they were called outliers. A possible explanation for outliers could be air pressure differences.

Third period class decided to use electric hotplates to heat the water. Like the first period class Zire handhelds with attached temperature probes were used. Using the data recorded on the handhelds the average boiling point was calculated. The class analyzed the data once it was available. We used MS Excel and copied columns of data from the downloaded file. These columns of data were pasted into new spreadsheets so graphs and charts could be made. The chart for the devices had widely scattered temperatures. Like the first period class we determined that elevation was the factor that influenced the boiling point of water most. We also discussed the outliers and plan to repeat the activity on days with different air pressure, both high and low, to test the hypothesis that air pressure also affects the boiling point.


Carle Place High School

Carle Place, New York

The students in our class found this project to be very exciting as well as educational. They learned a lot about the relationship between the boiling point of water and elevation. We spent time discussing their hypotheses prior to the experiment, and then the results afterward. They found it fascinating to look at the results that other schools obtained.

We decided that the next time this project is completed, we would use temperature probes and compare the outcome to standard thermometers.

As a teacher I found this project to be an excellent way to teach the concept of boiling points and elevation in a relevant and enjoyable manner.


Erie Day School

Erie, Pennsylvania

The factor that showed the strongest correlation to the boiling point was the elevation. Our original hypothesis was that we did not think the elevation would matter, but it does. It surprised us that elevation was a factor, but room temperature was not. The explanation that we can give for our results is Erie Day School had a boiling point of 103 degrees Celsius. Our temperature was not on the best-fit graph. One reason we had a higher than average boiling point could be because of our low elevation.

If we could pick a different location from where we were, we would have repeated the experiment. We would have re-calibrated our thermometers, do the experiment three days in a row (as opposed to MWF) and set up the apparatus differently to be sure that it was just recording the temperature of the boiling water. Instead of having the entire class take the temperature, we would have picked one person. The accuracy is very important, we would change by making it more accurate and checking the answers a few more times then we did.

If we picked other locations to look at boiling points of water, we would have picked New Orleans and Denver. We expect Denver to have a lower boiling point and New Orleans to have a higher one. There is not another variable we would like to test to see how it might change the boiling point.

We enjoyed completing this experiment with students from around the world. We learned about doing experiments more than once and how to make a best-fit graph for data.