In this Activity, students collect data to determine whether two processes, flipping pennies and burning small birthday candles, follow zeroth- or first-order rate laws. Students first collect data on the number of pennies remaining "heads up" after several successive tosses and then measure the mass of a burning candle over time. This Activity is inquiry-based and introduces reaction orders, determining reaction orders, and calculating simple kinetics. Instructors may wish to have students perform kinetics experiments involving chemical reactions after completing this Activity.
Michael J. Sanger, J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, p304A.