Illuminating Aluminum

based on 62 ratings
Author: Nancy Rogers Bosse
3rd – 5th grades  
Difficulty of Project

Less than $5.00 

Safety Issues
Material Availability

Easily purchased at the grocery store 

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

30 minutes to collect the data; one day to prepare the science fair display 


To investigate the amount of aluminum used in different soda cans 

Materials and Equipment

  • 5 different 12-ounce aluminum soda cans
  • Scale that measures ounces 

Background Information

Manufacturers of soda have continued to experiment with different packaging if these popular drinks. They have changed the packaging in an attempt to reduce costs and to help the environment. Aluminum cans are the most recycled and most recyclable type of container. About 95% of an aluminum can can be reused to make new cans. People recycle over 1,600 million pounds of aluminum cans.  

In this experiment, the weight of the cans will be compared.  

Terms, Concepts, and Questions to Start Background Research


recycled: to use again 

aluminum: a metal element found in the earth   


The amount of aluminum used to make soda cans differs between brands.  

Research Questions
  • Is there a difference in the amount of aluminum used to make soda cans?
  • How does the amount of aluminum used to make soda cans affect the environment?
  • How does recycling aluminum cans help the environment? 

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather the necessary materials.
  2. Empty and rinse the soda cans. Allow the cans to dry. Be sure that the cans are completely empty and dry inside.
  3. Weigh each can on the scale and record the results.
  4. Compare the weights of the cans.  



“Aluminum Can” at 

“What is Aluminum?” at 


The Aluminum Association at 

Can Manufacturers Institute at


Add your own comment
Recommended Learning Products
Trust to find smart things kids love
Unlimited Workbooks and Worksheets
90% of Students Understand Concepts Better Since Using PLUS
Unlimited Library of Children's Books
Over 750 stories at your fingertips
Make Math Practice Fun and Engaging
Interactive Math Lessons for Elementary School Students