Kids Use Chemistry to Turn Pennies Golden in STEM Experiments with GSK Science in the Summer™

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – This summer, Broward County students can participate in GSK Science in the Summer™ (, a national program that is committed to enriching young minds through its free summer science education program. Through the program, second through sixth grade students will put on their science hats and goggles and explore the wonders of chemistry through fun, hands-on experiments at The City of Hallandale Beach’s Hepburn Center.

The national GSK Science in the Summer™ program, coordinated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will teach students the basics of chemistry through hands-on experiments lead by Museum of Discovery and Science educators. Young scientists will learn what matter is and that it is not always the same. They will observe physical and chemical changes with fun, interactive experiments. Students also will decide if substances are acids, bases, or neutrals by using litmus and pH papers and a universal indicator. For more information, visit

To spread the joy of science, GSK Science in the Summer™ is sharing an experiment from its chemistry curriculum—an experiment that you can do in your very own home! Please note for optimum safety, an adult should be present during all experiments, and safety glasses should be worn while conducting experiments.

Copper Penny Experiment: Turning Pennies into “Gold”

What is chemistry? Chemistry is the science of change. It classifies all the substances around us and looks at how they interact with each other. Understanding the difference between physical and chemical changes is important.

Materials: Pennies, Clear Plastic Cup, Graduated Cylinder, Vinegar, Salt, Teaspoon

CAUTION: Tell students that scientists never put their noses into beakers, or taste unknown substances. Instead, they use an action called “wafting,” (moving the air over the beaker towards their noses) to detect odors.

  1. Begin by writing ALCHEMY on the chart paper. Explain that many years ago, people tried to make gold, usually for the king of the land. Alchemy is the process they used. It means that they took other metals and tried to turn them into gold. Tell the students that they are going to be alchemists. (Write this word on the chart as well.) You can also write the symbol for gold (Au) on the periodic table and the Latin word that is underneath it, Aurum.
  2. Give the students some tarnished pennies. Ask them to place a tarnished penny in a clear plastic cup (6 oz).
  3. Pour 30ml vinegar into each student’s graduated cylinder.
  4. Tell them to pour the vinegar (an acetic solution) into the plastic cup and then add one teaspoon salt (sodium chloride).
  5. Ask the students to observe what happens and discuss the results.
  6. Ask them how the alchemists would have described what happened. Were they right? Was this a physical or chemical change?
  7. The adults should empty and rinse the plastic cups for the students.

AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science, technology, and engineering for the benefit of all people. For further information, please visit

GSK – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information, go to, follow us on, or visit our blog ( 

For more information on GSK’s global STEM education program, visit

Marti Skold Jordan, Manager External Communications, 919-315-8854,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described under Item 3.D 'Risk factors' in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2013.

About the Museum of Discovery and Science
The mission of the Museum of Discovery and Science is to provide experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults through exhibits, programs and films. Founded in 1976 as The Discovery Center, the nonprofit facility serves approximately 450,000 visitors annually. Major operational support for the Museum is provided through generous support by Leadership Guild members including: Broward Health, JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Sun Sentinel and Wells Fargo.   

The Museum of Discovery and Science is located downtown at 401 SW Second Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312. For more information about the Museum, visitors should call 954.467.MODS (6637) or visit our web site at

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