Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boiling Water At Different Elevations - Sunday Science

One of the funny things we always notice when visiting family in Oregon, is that it takes a lot less time to cook noodles for macaroni and cheese, or spaghetti, than it does at home in Montana. Since, we are visiting in Oregon this week, we decided to take the opportunity to investigate the phenomenon for our Sunday Science project.

Before we left home, we poured 5 cups of warm water into a pan, and boiled it. The water started out at 98 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. After 7 minutes, it had risen to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, and was at a full rolling boil. We recorded our findings in a notebook, along with the elevation of our town - about 3570 feet above sea level.

My mother's house is at about 170 feet above sea level, and what we found when we boiled 5 cups of warm water here today, was that it still took 7 minutes to reach a rolling boil, but the temperature of the water was 210 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 degrees warmer than at home.

It makes sense then, that the noodles would cook faster here, because the water is hotter.

When we get home we'll take a look at why the differences in elevation effect the temperature of the water when it boils, but in the meantime, you can read all about it here, at What's the temperature of boiling water at your house? We'd love it if you'd check it out, and leave us a note in the comments below.

For more kid science, be sure to check out the other posts at this weeks Sunday Science link up at Adventures in Mommydom.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Valerie @ Inner Child Fun said...

What a great idea! I think we'll try doing this experiment the next time we vacation at a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Baking there always throws me off!

Debbie said...

After living in Montana for a while I remember learning this little fact. When I became a baker we had to know all sorts of wild information. For us here at sea level our boiling point is 212 degrees.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

How neat! We live more or less at sea level, so our temperatures would be the same at Oregon, I think. It's awesome that you could plan and execute such a hands-on experiment, which is especially interesting for older children.

Ticia said...

From what I've heard it's even faster in the Rockies. Ours will probably be about the same as yours, but I'll try and check and see for you.