Illuminating Aluminum

3.2 based on 95 ratings

Updated on Nov 07, 2012

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

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

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.


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?

  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

Nancy Rogers Bosse has been involved in education for over forty years â first as a student, then as a teacher, and currently as a curriculum developer. For the last fifteen years she has combined a career in freelance curriculum development with parenthood â another important facet of education and probably the most challenging. Nancy lives in Henderson, Nevada with husband and their three teenagers.

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