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Testing Heat and Temperature

  1. Overview
  2. Introduction
  3. Materials
  4. Instructions
  5. Activity Questions
  6. Assessment
  7. Learning Standards

Overview

During this hands-on activity, students will learn about heat and temperature by experimenting with a glow stick. This activity demonstrates concepts related to heat exchange and employs measurement with scientific tools. This activity is simple and inexpensive, yet it provides endless possibilities for lesson expansion and fullfillment of learning standards.

Introduction

Related Concepts

The concepts that will be focused on for this lesson are heat and temperature.

Background Information

In this lesson, participants will become familiar with using and recording information taken with a thermometer. They will also learn about the relationship between heat and energy.

Molecules with a lot of energy move faster than molecules with a smaller amount of energy. In this activity, participants will use heat as an energy source to illustrate this phenomenon. When a glowstick is placed in hot water, the molecules inside the glowstick move faster, causing it to shine brightly. When the glowstick is placed in ice water, the molecules inside the glowstick move slower. This results in less illumination.

Getting the Lesson Started!

Here are some potential discussion questions:

  1. What provides energy for molecules to move?
  2. Do molecules move faster when it is hot or cold?
  3. How can we measure temperature?
  4. How can we design an experiment to see if molecules move faster in hot water?

Materials

  • one glowstick
  • two styrofoam cups
  • one thermometer
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • hot and cold water

Instructions

  1. Remove a glowstick from its wrapper. Bend the glowstick until you hear a snap. This will activate the glowstick.
  2. Place hot water in one styrofoam cup and ice water in another sytrofoam cup.
  3. Start with the cup containing the hot water. Test the temperature of the water by placing the thermometer in the water. Record the temperature. Next, place the glowstick in the hot water. Record an observation.
  4. Now test the cup containing the ice water. Place the thermometer and the glowstick in the water. Record the temperature and an observation about the glowstick

Math can be integrated into the lesson by having the students calculate the difference between the temperature of the hot water and the ice water. Participants may want to vary the temaperatures and monitor the results. From this, participants may make further connections between heat and molecular movement.

Activity Questions

Predictions

  1. What do you think the glowstick will look like in the hot water?
  2. What do you think the glowstick will look like in the ice water?
  3. What should the temperature of the ice water be?

Data Collection

Cup Temperature (F) Glowstick Observation
Hot Water    
Ice Water    

Summary

  1. How did your glowstick observations differ? What do you think caused this difference?
  2. What was the temperature of the cold water? Was this what you expected?

Assessment

Assessment Background

Our assessment methods were the same for Illinois and National Standards.

Our assessment methods were the same and for Early and Late Elementary School students. What changed was the level of the questions asked and the discussion.

During the Lesson

The participants used inquiry strategies to analyze the results of their glowstick observations. Through their analysis, participants were able to make a connection between molecules and heat, the energy source. Throughout the lesson, the participants discussed how this relationship is used in science, technology, and society.

At the End of the Lesson

At the conclusion of the lesson, a discussion was held to determine the level of participant understanding of how heat effects molecules. The discussion also encouraged students to think critically about how heat can be used in society.

Here is a sample of questions from that discussion:

  • What is heat used for in society?
  • What types of energy sources are around us?
  • What is the realtionship between heat and molecular movement?
  • How can heat be measured?

Each of the children who participated in the lesson was able to answer these questions at his/her own level.

Illinois State and National Learning Standards that Apply to this Lesson

The following standards are from the Illinois Learning Standards, adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education on July 25, 1997. Take a look at the complete Illinois Learning Standards for Science, and for English/Language Arts.

Early Elementary

Subject Goal Standard Application to this Lesson
Science State Goal 11: Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments, and solve problems. A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.
  • 1a. Desribe an observed event.
  • 1c. Collect data for investigations using measurement instruments and technologies.
  • 1d. Record and store data using available technologies.
  • 1f. Compare observations of individual and group results.
Participants will be asked to follow the instructions in order to conduct the experiment. Participants will be using measurement tools (i.e. thermometer) provided and scientific reasoning to collect data.
Science State Goal 13: Understand the relationships among science, technology, and society in historical and contemporary contexts. A.Know and apply the accepted practices of science.
  • 1a. Use basic safety practices (e.g., stop, drop and roll).
  • 1b. Explain why similiar results are expected when procedures are done the same way.
  • 1c. Explain how knowledge can be gained by careful observation.
Participants will discuss and explain the procedure for testing heat and temperature. They will discuss the success of their findings with other participants, discussing how a different temperatures effects the brightness of the glowstick.
English/Language Arts State Goal 1: Read with understanding and fluency. C. Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.
  • 1a. Use information to form questions and verify predictions.
Participants will use the information they gathered about testing heat and temperature to formulate questions about the activity.
English/Language Arts State Goal 3: Write to communicate to a variety of purposes. C. Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.
  • 1a. Write for a variety of purposes including description, information, explanation, persuasion, and narration.
Participants will answer various questions about the activity and thier scientific findings. Participants will also complete a data table and explain what the data table shows.
English/Language Arts State Goal 4: Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations. A. Listen effectively in formal and informal situations.
  • 1b. Ask questions and respond to questions from the teacher and from group members to improve comprehension.
  • 1c. Follow oral instructions accurately.
B. Speak effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience.
  • 1a. Present brief oral reports, using language and vocabulary appropriate to the message and audience (e.g., show and tell).
  • 1b. Participate in discussions around a common topic.
At the beginning of the lesson, participants are given oral and written instructions to assist them with the activity. Their success is based on how effectively they follow the given instructions. At the end of the lesson, participants are involved in a discussion that requires them to listen effectively to the questions. Participation is encouraged from every student during the discussion at the end of the lesson.

Late Elementary

Subject Goal Standard Application to this Lesson
Science State Goal 11: Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments, and solve problems. A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.
  • 2b. Collect data for investigations using scientific process skills including observing, estimating and measuring.
  • 2d. Use data to produce resonable explanations.
Participants will be asked to follow the instructions in order to conduct the experiment. Participants will be using measurement tools (i.e. thermometer) provided and scientific reasoning to collect data.
Science State Goal 13: Understand the relationships among science, technology, and society in historical and contemporary contexts. A. Know and apply the accepted principles of science.
  • 2a. Demonstrate ways to avoid injuries while conducting science activities.
Participants will discuss and explain the procedure for testing heat and temperature. They will discuss the success of their findings with other participants, discussing how different temperatures effect the brightness of the glowstick.
English/Language Arts State Goal 1: Read with understanding and fluency. C. Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.
  • 2d. Summarize and make generalizations from content and relate to purpose of material.
Participants will use the information they gathered about testing heat and temperature to formulate questions about the activity.
English/Language Arts State Goal 3: Write to communicate to a variety of purposes. C. Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.
  • 2a. Write for a variety of purposes and for specified audiences in a variety of forms.
Participants will answer various questions about the activity and thier scientific findings. Participants will also complete a data table and explain what the data table shows.
English/Language Arts State Goal 4: Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations. A. Listen effectively in formal and informal situations.
  • 2c. Restate and carry out a variety of oral instructions.
B. Speak effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience.
  • 2b. Use speaking skills and procedures to participate in group discussions.
At the beginning of the lesson, participants are given oral and written instructions to assist them with the activity. Their succes is based on how effectively they follow the given instructions. At the end of the lesson, participants are involved in a discussion that requires them to listen effectively to the questions. Participation is encouraged from every student during the discussion at the end of the lesson.

National Learning Standards that Apply to this Lesson

Standard Level Application to this Lesson
6.1 Science as Inquiry K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Abilities to do scientific inquiry

K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Understanding about scientific inquiry
Participants will use scientific reasoning and critical thinking while determining how heat effects the glowstick. Participants will ask questions, conduct investigations, and gather information to help them understand how heat effects the behavior of molecules.
6.2 Physical Science K-4
Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism

5-8
Transfer of energy

9-12
Interactions of energy and matter
Participants are introduced to how energy (heat, for example) can effect the behavior of molecules. Students also practice their measurement and data collection skills.