A CIESE Collaborative Project

Spring 2000 Student Reports

Desert Vista High School

Phoenix Arizona, USA

Recently in our Honors Chem-Phys class we did an experiment comparing different boiling points of water between our classes. We realized that there is a lot more to boiling water than meets the eye. Then comparing with classes around the world it was certain that each and every tiny factor was important to the outcome. So what caused the 3, 4, or 5 degree difference in our results? Three factors that certainly varied results were human error, elevation, and the type of water.

Human Error probably had to be the greatest factor at stake. Different groups could have incorrectly calibrated the thermometer. Therefore making every reading 1 or 2 degrees off. Between different people opinions on what a thermometer says can vary greatly. As well as coherent mistakes, little things may have been overlooked; when did the water really start to boil or does it matter if the thermometer touches the glass? All in all each of the mistakes, little by little, caused greater fault in the outcome.

When water is boiled at different air pressures it is going to effect the temperature of the boiling point. At higher elevations the air pressure is lower, therefore making it easier to boil water. That's why we noticed a significant drop in the degrees from places at higher elevations. Also barometric pressure changes daily, which could change our boiling points daily as well. Whether it's elevation or barometric pressure, air pressure will differ the boiling points worldwide.

Lastly, the type of water came into play. We were required to use distilled water, but who is to say we really did? Distilled water is pure with out minerals, where as tap water contains all the minerals. Meaning tap water probably gave a higher reading because of the minerals it contains.

Over-all each of our mistakes effected our results. If we chose to do this experiment a second time I believe our results would be far more reliable. From this experiment I probably learned most that we should have taken each step into consideration and that boiling water is a lot more than it seems!


Lincoln Middle School

Passaic, New Jersey, USA

English Version

We are 7th graders from a bilingual science class here at Lincoln Middle School, Passaic N.J. We are located at an elevation of 35 meters. The purpose of our experiment was to find out the boiling point of water. We started the project with a virtual trip to hiking a mountain and posed a question: In which place do you think the water will boil first, on the top of a mountain or in the city of Passaic? Then we learned that elevation was the factor that determined the boiling point of the water. We discovered that the boiling of water is the point at which water changes from liquid to a gas by the evaporation process. After the experiment was conducted, we analyzed the results, data was averaged and the boiling point was recorded. Due to the fact that we need to follow the Curriculum Chronological Outline in our school, we had to use the data from the Fall 1999 project. Based on the collection of the data from the website and the graphs we made, we saw a significant pattern in comparing boiling point versus elevation. We came to a conclusion that elevation seems to have the greatest effect on the boiling point, because as the elevations of different locations increased, the boiling points decreased, therefore the higher the elevation, the lower the boiling point. We must say that this project was a very interesting one and that we have learned to search valuable information on the internet, besides the science concepts of boiling point of water, temperature, elevation and air pressure. Thank You very much for the opportunity to participate in this project.

Mrs. M. Smith and the 7th grade bilingual science class.
Lincoln Middle School
Passaic, New Jersey, USA

Spanish Version

Nosotros somos estudiantes de la clase de ciencias de la escuela Lincoln Middle School localizada en Passaic, N.J. a una elevation de 35 metros. El proposito de nuestro experimento fue encontrar el punto de ebullicion del agua. Nosotros comenzamos nuestro proyecto con un viaje imaginario a una montana y nos planteamos la pregunta: En que lugar piensan ustedes que el agua hierve primero, en la cima de la montana o en la ciudad de Passaic. Despues nos dimos cuenta que la elevacion fue un factor importante en la determinacion del punto de ebullicion del agua. Nosotros descubrimos que el punto de ebullicion del agua, es el punto en el cual el agua cambia de liquido a gas por medio del proceso de evaporation. Despues del experimento, analisamos los resultados sacamos el promedio de los datos y encontramos el punto de ebullicion para el grupo. Debido a que nosotros tenemos que seguir nuestro curiculum en determinando tiempo nos vimos obligados a utilizar los datos del proyecto realizado en el otono de 1999. Basados en los datos que colectamos del website y las graficas que hicimos vimos que seguia un pation muy significante cuando se comparaba el punto de ebullicion del agua y la elevacion del lugar. Entonces nosotros sacamos como conclusion que la elevation tiene un efecto muy grande en el punto de ebullicion, porque nos dimos cuenta que en diferentes lugares del mundo, a medida que la elevacion aumenta, el punto de ebullicion disminuye. Nosotros agregamos que este proyecto fue muy interesante y ademas aprendimos utilizar la red de Internet y los conceptos de ciencias como punto de ebullicion del agua, temperatura, elevacion y presion atmosferica. Gracias por la oportunidad de participar en este proyecto.

Mrs. M. Smith y la clase bilingue de ciencias del septimo grado.


Bucklin High School

Bucklin, Kansas, USA

We are the third hour Chemistry Class from Bucklin High School in Bucklin, Kansas. The information we gathered by comparing our data with other fine schools around the world is that elevation effects boiling points more than any other factor. The results are ver unpredictable. The higher the elevation the lower the boiling point but there were alot of discrepancies. The reason for this could be bad thermometer calibrations. We had a great time and are thrilled to participate in this experiment. It was neat to see the whole world coming together in scientific harmony!


Academy of St. Elizabeth

Convent Station, New Jersey, USA

Dear International Students,

Our junior chemistry class from the Academy of St. Elizabeth participated in this project and found interesting findings. Before we performed the experiments we discussed what factors could possibly affect boiling point and we were undecided on the outcome of these experiments. After performing the experimentation and analyzing the results we came to a number of conclusions. We plotted the results and the graph demonstrated a significant pattern with elevation on boiling point. We found that boiling point decreases when elevation increases. The other factors such as volume or heating element did not show any pattern graphically and we concluded that these factors will not affect the boiling point.

If we were to repeat the experiment, we would try to use computer probe thermometer monitors instead of the regular thermometers in the laboratory to have more accuracy. Other variables we would like to study would be air pressure, and air quality on boiling point.

Our class enjoyed this collaborative experiment and we thank you for the opportunity to participate in this project.

Thank You,

Students from the Academy of St. Elizabeth


McKinley High School

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

At first none of us thought that elevation would be the variable that would effect the average boiling point. Some of us thought it was the amount of water and others thought it would be the average room temperature.

After plotting other schools' results the trend seems to be the higher the elevation the lower the boiling point. We learned that it is because the atmospheric pressure is lower at high elevations. That means the air is thinner up there and the water can boil easier.

We were a little confused to see the points so scattered on all of the graphs that we plotted. Some of us thought they could see a trend of cooler average room temperatures affecting boiling point. Our teacher thought that may be because higher elevations are often cooler than lower elevations. Reading some of the other schools reports taught us that some schools may not have been as careful as we were. In the great pictures of the students of Kingscliff High School of New South Wales, Australia, we noticed one student holding the thermometer with her hand instead of having it held by a clamp. Many of us thought that if students did that, mistakes like touching the sides or bottom of the beaker or body temperature could effect the results. This made us think that other mistakes like not calibrating the thermometers, not using distilled water, dirty beakers,and not being careful when reading the thermometer may have been the reason for the data points being so scattered. A few of us also thought that different weather at different places could also contribute to the scattering of the graph points. We also learned that it is important how the graph is made. If the numbers on the y axis are squeezed too tight it is harder to see the trends.

It would be interesting to see what the average boiling point would be below sea level or with different samples of water that are not distilled. Some of us decided that we should take a field trip to the Island of Hawaii (we call it the 'Big Island') and up to the summit of 'Mauna Loa' volcano which rises 13,677 feet (4,169 meters) above sea level in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is the world's largest volcano. If we boiled water up there it would probably boil at below 90 degrees centigrade!

This was a good experiment to learn about boiling point and the things that effects it. It was also a good experiment to use to learn about pressure and how important it is to many things besides just the boiling point of water. We learned that atmospheric pressure is also very important to weather.

We really enjoyed this project very much. We learned a lot and think it is very educational because it is a international project which is really cool! We want to send our MAHALO (thank you) to the project leader, Ms. John Park, the Stevens Institute of Technology and all of the teachers and students of the other schools for such a great project.


Science Students, McKinley High School, Honolulu, Hawaii


Cardijn College

Adelaide, South Australia

This report is from a student in one of my Year 8 science classes. All of my students enjoyed doing the Boiling point Project and I think it was a great introduction to some of the many skills that students need as they undertake science at secondary level.

Hi, I'm from Cardijn College, Adelaide South Australia. I learnt that if you make a small mistake e.g not reading the temperature at eye level on the thermometer then this can affect the outcome by a few degrees. We did this project over three days. We recorded the temperature every 30 seconds until the same temperature came up three or four times. I think that it was an excellent experience, I learnt a lot about the boiling points of different countries and how to use the equipment more efficiently.

Cardijn College Home Page


Hamilton High School East

Hamilton, New Jersey, USA

The students from all four classes were thrilled to be conducting an experiment with students from around the globe. The collecting, sharing and analysis of raw data was a wonderful learning experience. Our classroom data alone allowed them to realize that amount of water, room temperature and heating device was not a factor in determining the boiling point of water. When they graphed the data of elevation and boiling point they were able to clearly see the trend in temperature as the elevation changed. Using a best fit trend line they calculated a boiling point of approximately 98 degrees C. We also incorporated geography in Chemistry class. Students were required to locate all participants on a world map. It was a great learning experience. Next time I would calibrate the thermometers better, as I don't think our reading should have been as low as we got. I will certainly participate again next year.


Hillside Avenue School

Cranford, New Jersey, USA

To write the final report we needed to answer many questions. To show which factor has the strongest correlation to boiling point, we graphed volume of water, elevation above sea level, heating device, and room temperature. In conclusion we think the elevation showed the strongest effect because the boiling point went down as the elevation went up. Our original hypothesis was that the water would reach one hundred degress celcius and stay there. We were surprised at our results because it only reached only ninty -six degrees .We were surprised at other classes results because they weren't the same as ours.We don't know how to explain why water boiled at ninty-six degrees because our elevation is not high. If we had to choose another location we would choose Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Rio is at sea level, which means that the water would boil at 100 degrees. Another very important answer to a very important question is on accuracy, accuracy is very important in most science experiments because if we wern't accurate with our results during this experiment, we wouldn't have a very accurate answer. However, we were as accurate as we could possibly be. If we did make a few mistakes then they would probably be on reading the thermometer. If I could change anything about this experiment I would make the experiment longer to see what the results would be and if there was a bigger change or not. One test that I would like to do would be on air pressure and try to find out some of the things that air pressure can do to the human body and how it plays a role in our every day life. Performing this experiment is what a real scientist would do because the scientist would probably want to know what would affect the boiling point. They would also get information from other scientists (schools) and would do the experiment more than once, like we did. We learned that the elevation can affect the boiling point and the heating devices, volume and room temperature doesn't really affect it.


South Miami Middle School

Miami, Florida, USA

After we observed the data sheet for all the participating schools from around the world, we discovered that the elevation was the key variable that affects the temperature at which water boils. We observed that the higher the elevation, the lower the boiling point of water was and vice versa. Even though for this relationship was an inverse proportion, for the most part, in some cases the data did not support the hypothesis. We believe that this was due to the following factors: 1. Errors in the thermometer calibration 2. Errors reading the thermometer 3. Premature calling of the boiling point 4. Differences in the heating devices 5. Inconsistencies in carrying out the experiment 6. Random errors

We had a wonderful time taking part in this interesting project. We are looking forward to repeat it. Thank you.


Kingscliff High School

Kingscliff, New South Wales, Australia

Class 7C1 at Kingscliff High certainly found analyzing the data of the Boiling Point Project to discover trends more challenging than the collecting of data at our location in the first stage of the project. The patterns produced by the variables were not easily understood by a student who has not studied any statistics, however, we could see that a general relationship existed between altitude and boiling point whereby boiling point was lower for higher altitudes. We have all had an enjoyable and productive time during our involvement in the Boiling Point Project. We congratulate the other participants and organizers on their efforts and hope that funding is continued to be made available by corporations that have an appreciation of the important role that science and scientific discovery plays in our lives . All the best for the future everyone!


Jane Addams Junior High School

Schaumburg, Illinois, USA

There are many variables that could effect the boiling point of water. For our experiment, we tested three of them.

The first variable we tested was the room temperature during the experiment. When we graphed our results for this variable, we found that the boiling points were scattered around the grid. We found no correlation.

The second variable we tested was the volume of water. Once again, we found that the boiling point had no apparent connection to this variable.

The last variable was elevation. When we graphed our results, we found that the higher the elevation, the lower the boiling point. We were surprised at this because our hypothesis was that there would be no change in the boiling point.

We also found that accuracy is very important. If our measurements are inaccurate it could affect the results of all the other schools participating in the study. We used laptop computers with probes attached. We feel we controlled all the variables and gave accurate results.

If we could do the project again, we would like to see if there is any correlation between boiling point and air pressure.

We think this project was very interesting because it shows how schools from all over the world can share information. This project also showed us why we need to be careful with our experiments and control as many variables as possible.


St. Catherine's Middle School

Richmond, Virginia, USA

We are 7th graders from St. Catherine's Middle School in Richmond, Virginia. From this international science project we learned a lot about boiling water and the factors that contribute to the variation of the boiling point. To start, we learned that boiling water is when water transforms from a liquid into a gas. Once we understood the concept of boiling water we moved to the next level, the factors that may alter the boiling point of water around the world. Some of these factors are elevation, the heat source, and the amount of water used. One of the most important factors is elevation. We learned that elevation can alter the boiling point through air pressure. A higher elevation has a lower air pressure; thus a lower elevation has a higher air pressure. When there is a higher air pressure the air bubbles have to gain more strength in order to break the surface of the water. Therefore a location with a lower air pressure would have their water boiling at a lower temperature. People who live in the mountains have to follow different cake instructions than those on lower ground. We have learned a tremendous amount of information from this experiment, anything from evaporation to cake recipes. Thank you for allowing us to participate in your worldwide program and hopefully our information will contribute to your studies.


Lincoln Middle School

Passaic, New Jersey, USA

We didn't think room temperature would affect the boiling point. However,we did test a hot plate vs. Bunsen burner and different amounts of water. There was no difference. After graphing elevation vs. boiling point, we found that the higher the elevation, the lower the boiling point because of less air pressure. There were several sets of data that did not fit, but it was probably due to improper calibration or readings. We enjoyed doing this project because it was much more fun than reading about boiling points!


Camden High School

Camden, New Jersey, USA

Our hypothesis was that the heating device would have the most effect on the boiling point of water. While conducting the experiment, we found variations between classes, and looked at some possible explanations for them. Boiling points seemed to be lower at locations near air vents and windows. We learned that instructions must be followed precisely, so as not to skew the results (thermometers must be calibrated and cannot be lifted out of the water for readings during the experiment).

We used a computer spreadsheet program to graph the boiling point against room temp, elevation and volume of water, and did a separate graph for heating devices. We then looked for a trend in the graphs and found our boiling point vs. elevation line to go generally downward to the right. We made beautiful classroom displays showing our graphs, a map with the locations of other schools plotted, and an explanatio of the project in "scientific method format".

Our conclusion is that elevation has the most effect on boiling point: As elevation increases, boiling point decreases.