A CIESE Collaborative Project

Fall 2006 Student Reports

Hamden, Connecticut

During the Boiling Point project, we came up with many different hypotheses about what factor most affected the boiling point of water, including the volume of water and the room temperature. Many of us did not even consider elevation to be a factor, much less a key factor. After looking at data from around the world, we noticed a consistent change of boiling points depending on the altitude. We learned that it is easier for the molecules of water to break apart from each other at higher elevations, because the gravitational pull on the air above them pushes down on them less when the air column above them is shorter. For instance, on Mt. Everest, because the altitude is higher, air pressure is lower than at sea level, so the liquid water molecules can escape as vapor at lower temperatures and with less energy than they would need to vaporize at sea level.

We analyzed some sources of error in this lab, including problems with the calibration of the thermometers, having our thermometers too close to the hot plates or to the air, or having contaminants in the water.

In the future, we would be interested in investigating the boiling point of other liquids such as soda, salt water, and vinegar. We would also be interested in looking at the correlation between boiling point and air pressure.

Marlboro, New Jersey

Our classes tested different volumes of water and found that all of the boiling points were about the same. The one thing that we did notice is that the boiling points of lab groups near the flow of the air conditioner were slightly lower than those groups on the other side of the room. In applied technology class we learned that flowing air causes low pressure so we guessed that that was why there was a difference.

When we compared our elevation to other schools in the project we determined that the elevation affects the boiling point. Lower air pressure at higher elevations lets the water boil at a lower temperature, the same way the air conditioner flow in our lab affected the groups on that side of the room.

We had alot of fun with this project. It helped us to practice the scientific method that we learned about in class. We felt like "real scientists" since we were part of a project with kids from all over the world!

Camden High School (Grade 9 Honors Earth Science)

Camden, New Jersey

Our original hypothesis was that the heating device would have the strongest correlation to the boiling point of water.

We were surprised at both our results and other classes results. When we analyzed the data we found the line of best fit on the graph for elevation vs. boiling point was closest to the data points. Therefore, elevation was the variable that showed the strongest correlation to the boiling point.

We think there is a possibility that our boiling point temperatures were inaccurate, because when we reached our boiling point the temperature dropped slightly. We think this happened because we used a small volume of water (250 ml), and when some of the water evaporated and the water started to boil, some air may have touched the thermometer, making the temperature drop. If we did the project again we would change the volume of water that we use. Also, next time we would like to try boiling a different liquid.

We learned a lot from this project. We hope you had fun because we did!!

West Sussex, UK

We were trying to find out what temperature water boils at by using a Bunsen burner. We found out that people closer to the sea had a higher boiling point temperature. We learnt that water boils at 100°C where we are. For next time on the website, it could show a picture of what type of heating device you can use so we can see it. We could do more experiments now, but use the same amount of water this time.

Marlboro, New Jersey

Just in from Marlboro Middle School

Even with the different volumes of water, the boiling point for all of Mr. Conkling's classes were about the same. Period One had a boiling point of 99.73 degrees Celsius, Period Two had a boiling point of 99.33, Period Four had a boiling point of 99.00, Period Six had a boiling point of 99.86, and Period Seven had a boiling point of 99.75. Marlboro has an elevation of 61.876 meters above sea level, and after examining data from other schools around the world - WE STARTED TO NOTICE SOMETHING! Higher elevations had lower boiling points This also relates to what some of us are learning in applied technology (with planes).

We, in Mr. Conkling's class, enjoyed performing the boiling point experiment. This experiment helped us see relation to places all over the world and it was cool to think that children all over the world were using our information - JUST LIKE WE WERE USING THEIRS. We also used the scientific method in a real-world setting (instead of boring notes )

Thank you to Stevens Institute for setting this experiment for the world and thank you to Marlboro Middle School - HOME OF THE HAWKS

Loudonville, New York

Upon analyzing the data from all over the world, it would seem that elevation had the most consistent effect on the boiling point. One thing that we found interesting in our own experiments using alcohol thermometers was that the boiling point of each of our individual groups (within the class) varied more than we thought it would. The average for the group (102.0 C) was reasonable, but we were surprised that all of our numbers weren't the same or closer together. It would seem that the measuring device can also influence how consistent the data is. We are planning on repeating the experiment using a temperature probe connected to a computer that is programmed to collect data continously.It will be interesting to compare that to our current data. We expect that we will have greater precision in our data. It was interesting to participate in this study because it allowed us to see how much more valuable data can be when there are numerous groups participating in the study.

Short Hills, New Jersey

Our class spent alot of time analyzing and graphing the data from The Boiling Point Project. We found that elevation has the greatest effect on boiling point. The higher the elevation, the lower the boiling point. Our graph of the type of heating device and boiling point suggested there might be some influence, but there was not enough data for all the different types of heating devices to make a conclusion.

Our class hypothesis was that at our school elevation (41m) our boiling point would be close to 100C. In fact, the boiling point of water in our experiment was 100.5C, so our hypothesis was correct.

We used the data from the project to discuss what differences there might be in cooking temperatures and times at different elevations. This project helps confirm the differences and similarities among different cultures around the globe.

American School of Tampico (Grade 10)

Tampico, Mexico

After analyzing the data provided by the International Boiling Project, we found out that elevation had the greatest influence on the boiling point of water. The hypothesis was correct. The rest of the factors, heating device, volume of water, and room temperature didn’t have a great effect on the boiling point of water. Based on the results and in comparison with the other schools that were at different altitudes, the ones closes to sea level had a boiling point close to 100°C, whereas higher places had a boiling point as low as 92.1°C.

We think that the accuracy in measurements is very important in all experiments. We all put a lot of effort into making our measurements as careful as possible, and since the same experiment was repeated by the five teams in each of our four science classes and then results were averaged, we believe that our final results are very accurate. We are 23 m above sea level and we obtained an average boiling point of 98.5°C.

Another variable that can affect the boiling point of water is gravity. Although it would be very difficult to test this, we could research about this and find out if water has been boiled in outer space and how this happens.

Thank you for the opportunity of participating with people from other places,
ATS G10 Science

Belle Chasse, Louisiana

From looking at the data both classes concluded that our boiling point was low and that elevation seemed to have something to do with the boiling point. We discussed as a class what else might have made our boiling point lower and we also concluded that the humidity outside and inside that classroom might of played a role.

Gurzler Miqdash Me'At (Grades 5 and 9)

Drums, Pennsylvania

Both children used the same volume of water (500 ML).
Both children used the same heating device (a gas kitchen stove).
The children did their experiments on the same days, at the same time (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this past week, after lunch).
The temperature in the room was chillier than in most of your rooms, I see. (An average of 19.2 degrees C.)
Our elevation is 323.088 Meters.
The only differences were the types of pots used to heat the water: one child used an aluminum pot for his experiments, the other used a stainless steel one.
The water in the aluminum pot boiled at an average temperature of 93.6 degrees C in an average of 25 minutes.
The water in the stainless steel pot boiled at an average temperature of 98.3 degrees C in an average of 23 minutes.

We were very surprised to see that the metal content of pot made a difference in how fast the water boiled. We hadn't realized that water boils at lower temperatures the higher up in elevation you go. Interesting. We just took for granted that water boils at 100 degrees C or 212 degrees F. We never thought about anything that might affect that number.

The most important thing we learned was the importance of the accuracy of measurement, not just in the tools we used, but also in our handling of those tools. For instance, we learned that one of the thermometers in our home was off by 15 degrees. (No wonder the steaks we checked using this instrument were always far more underdone than we preferred!) Our younger son learned about the importance of keeping a consistent eye level when reading measurements. He had never considered that he must behave in a precise manner when doing experiments. Through the repetition of the experiment over the course of a few days, our older son gained a new respect for controlling variables that could affect scientific experiments. Both children enjoyed participating in the project and talked about what they were doing with their friends.

A.J. Ferrell Middle Magnet School (Grade 8)

Tampa, Florida

Good Day from the Ferrell Roaring Tigers,

We are proud to report our results, as surprising as we found them to be. We had nine groups complete this project and we found some amazing results. We found that after the first day we were quite able to predict just about to a tee the time that our water would boil and the temperature to. It was amazing, but we thought that if we started with a smaller amount of water in our air conditioned building, we would get to our boiling temperature quicker, and the temperature would be right on the acutal boiling point of water. Boy were we wrong. Our average boiling point was 97.8 degrees Celsius. We started off with our room temperature at 23.67 degrees Celsius. So we guessed maybe our room temperature might have played some type of role in the boiling point being lower. More than that we think that being at 53.55meters had something to do with our boiling point change. We all had a great time doing this experiment, and look forward to doing it again. We are sending in photos of our class in action. Can't wait for the next experiment. ROAR!!!!!

Ms. Goellner's Roaring Tigers

St. Louis King of France School (Grades 5, 7, and 8)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The average boiling point for our school was 93.65 degrees C. Our average room temperature was 22 degrees C. Most of us thought that the volume of water would have the greatest effect on the boiling point of the water. Some of us thought it would be the elevation that made the biggest difference. One thing we all learned is that the classroom temperature did not affect the boiling point at all. We also learned that the volume of water did not gratly affect the boiling point of the water either. Water boils at the same temperature no matter how much is boiling at once. We enjoyed doing this project because we learned a lot about controlling the variables in an experiment. Our classes have decided to continue this experiment by testing other variables like containers made of different materials and boiling other types of solutions.

Roosevelt Junior High School (Grade 7)

Roosevelt, Utah

Period #1
There hypothesis was that the volume of water used affected the boiling point. By comparing one class to another we saw virtually no difference in boiling point. However we did notice that barometric pressure was different on two of the days and that could have made a difference in the in our class boiling pt data.
Period #3
They stated that elevation is the biggest factor in boilingi point of water. Based on the data that seemed to be the most correct answer. We were at an elevation of 1554 meters and some schools were at an elevation of 0 meters and there was a difference in the boiling point of schools at a lower elevation then us.
Period #7
We also stated that elevation is the biggest factor in boiling point. We concluded about the same things as 3 period.
Period #8
We stated that the heating device used determined boiling point. After looking at the data we didn't see any relationship between boiling point at the type of heating device used.

Altamont Jr./Sr. High School (Grade 7)

Altamont, Utah

Class #1
Heating device--a hot plate
Elevation -- 6,390 ft (1947 m)
Amount of water--250 mL
Average room temperature--22 C
Average boiling point -- 91.53

Class #2
Heating device--a hot plate
Elevation--6,390 ft (1947 m)
Amount of water--250 mL
Average room temperature--22 C
Average boiling point--92.1