Education Technology

Sweating Alcohol

Updated on 04/14/2014

Activity Overview

In this lesson, students will measure and graph the rate at which room-temperature water and alcohol cool as they evaporate. Then, they will draw a conclusion about the rates at which polar and nonpolar liquids evaporate.


  • Students will collect data for the cooling rates of water and isopropyl alcohol.
  • Students will compare and contrast the cooling rate data, both graphically and numerically.
  • Students will predict how human homeostasis would be different if we perspired a liquid other than water.
  • Students will draw conclusions about the physical and chemical characteristics of water and how those characteristics impact organisms and the ability of the Earth to sustain life.
  • Students will generate linear regression models and compare rates of change from those models.


  • polar
  • nonpolar
  • cohesion
  • solvent
  • solute
  • solution
  • homeostasis

About the Lesson

This activity involves collecting data with a temperature probe as two different liquids cool via evaporation.
As a result, students will:

  • Compare the two rates of cooling and predict the physiological and metabolic implications if we, as humans, perspired some liquid other than water.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the properties of water and how those properties allow life to exist.