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Calorimetry Lab

To measure the
amount of energy
stored in a peanut

goggles, apron,
science journal,
peanut, balance,
cork, straight pin,
50 mL water, beaker,
ring stand, wire gauze,
thermometer clamp,
thermometer, lighter,
ring and clamp

1. Set up the apparatus as shown below.
2. Determine the mass of the peanut and record the amount
into the table in your science journal.
3. Pour 50 mL of water into the beaker.
4. Record the initial temperature of the water.
5. Carefully place the peanut on the straight pin.
6. Ignite the peanut.
7. Allow the peanut to burn completely and then record
the water temperature.
8. Allow the remains of the peanut to cool and then record
its final mass.
9. Calculate the amount of energy in calories, using the
following equation:
calories = mass H2O H2O temp. 1.0 cal /g/C
10.Convert your calculated calories to kilocalories and record
it into the table.
thermometer clamp
wire gauze
ring and clamp
straight pin
ring stand

Analysis and Conclusions

A. What happened to the peanut? What happened to the water? Why?
B. Which organic compound is responsible for most of the calories
found in a peanut?
C. What must happen to the food you eat before your cells can
use the foods energy?
D. Explain how burning the peanut is similar to cellular
respiration. Explain how it is different.
E. Write the chemical equation for respiration. Identify the
reactants and products of this process.
F. Was there any experimental error? Explain how you could
improve the accuracy of this experiment.
B.1.9, B.1.10 / Curriculum Framework / How is Energy Stored and Released?
Indiana Biology Standards Resource, November 2003

Calorimetry Lab
Teacher Directions
Provide students with all of the lab materials, and challenge them to devise procedures
for a calorimetry lab. Use the reproducible Calorimetry Lab to guide students in writing
their lab procedures.
Direct students to create tables, such as the following, in their science journals:
Mass of Water

Initial Mass of Peanut

Final Mass of Peanut

Mass of Peanut

Initial H2O Temp.

Final H2O Temp.

H2O Temp.



At the conclusion of the lab, discuss the Analysis and Conclusions questions.

Answer Key
A. The peanut burned completely. It changed in mass. The water temperature was raised.
When the peanut was burned, stored chemical energy was converted into heat energy,
thereby raising the temperature of the water.
B. Peanuts contain mostly fat, followed by protein and carbohydrates.
C. Food must be digested, and then undergo cellular respiration, so that it is in the form
cells can use for energy.
D. In both cases, the food is being oxidized. Chemical energy is being converted to heat energy.
The processes are different, because food is food is oxidized in cells during cellular respiration,
while the food was ignited for the same effect in the experiment.
E. Chemical equation:
C6H12O6 + 6O2

6CO2 + 6H2O + energy

Reactants: glucose and oxygen

Products: carbon dioxide, water, energy in the form of ATP
F. Answers will vary, but students should comment on how heat energy was lost when the
peanut was burned, because of the set up of the apparatus. Some students might also answer
that the peanut did not burn completely. Students could suggest setting up the apparatus so
that less heat energy is lost, and so that the peanut would be completely burned.
B.1.9, B.1.10 / Curriculum Framework / How is Energy Stored and Released?
Indiana Biology Standards Resource, November 2003