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Title: Coal Identification Activity
Level: Secondary
KERA Goals:
1.10, 2.1, 2.2 , 2.6, 5.5
The student should be able to rank, identify and compare the types of coal.

Coal specimens
Hardness kit (optional)
Bunsen burner or alcohol lamp

1. Carefully examine the coal specimens and complete the identification chart:

Evidence of
Plant Origin
HardnessLusterCleavageOther Characteristics

2. Give evidence that demonstrates peat is the youngest form of coal.
3. Why would anthracite be the highest rank of coal?
4. Using tongs, hold a piece of each type of coal in a flame. Note its speed of ignition, remove from flame and observe how it burns. Complete this chart:

CoalSpeed of IgnitionFlame ColorSpeed of BurningOdor

5. Does burning show that peat is the lowest ranking of coal?
6. Does the manner of burning bituminous coal show that it still has volatile (gas) material in it?


Provided by American Coal Foundation

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