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published by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering
This is a 50-minute lab for grades 3-5 on the topic of heat capacity.  Students work in teams to collect data on the heat capacity of various common materials.  The main objective is to promote understanding of how heat capacity is related to the storage of thermal energy.  By graphing the change in temperature over time,  students also  gain awareness of which materials make good insulators and which are better conductors.  Printable student worksheets and vocabulary lists are included.  This activity is part of a module titled "How Hot Is It?"  See Related items on this page for a link to the full module.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:  Hot water is used in this lab.  NOT appropriate for primary grades.  The lab is intended for grades 3-5.  Otherwise, minimal risk.  

Teach Engineering is an NSF-funded Pathway developed to provide high-quality experiential learning materials for K-12 classrooms.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Thermo & Stat Mech
- First Law
= Heat Capacity
= Heat Transfer
- Thermal Properties of Matter
= Temperature
- Elementary School
- Instructional Material
= Best practice
= Laboratory
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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© 2005 Regents of the University of Colorado
Keywords:
energy, energy storage, experiential learning, heat energy, temperature, thermal energy, thermodynamics, thermometer
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 20, 2008 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
January 27, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
April 21, 2006

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 3-5: 1B/E1. Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments.
  • 3-5: 1B/E2b. One reason for following directions carefully and for keeping records of one's work is to provide information on what might have caused differences in investigations.

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 3-5: 4E/E2a. When warmer things are put with cooler ones, the warmer things get cooler and the cooler things get warmer until they all are the same temperature.
  • 3-5: 4E/E2b. When warmer things are put with cooler ones, heat is transferred from the warmer ones to the cooler ones.
  • 3-5: 4E/E2c. A warmer object can warm a cooler one by contact or at a distance.

11. Common Themes

11C. Constancy and Change
  • 3-5: 11C/E2b. Often the best way to tell which kinds of change are happening is to make a table or graph of measurements.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 3-5: 12C/E3. Keep written or electronic records of information so that the records are understandable weeks or months later.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 3-5: 12D/E3. Use numerical data in describing and comparing objects and events.
  • 3-5: 12D/E4. Read simple tables and graphs produced by others and describe what the tables and graphs show.

Next Generation Science Standards

Energy (4-PS3)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (4)
  • Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. (4-PS3-2)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
  • Energy can be moved from place to place by moving objects or through sound, light, or electric currents. (4)
  • The term "heat" as used in everyday language refers both to thermal energy (the motion of atoms or molecules within a substance) and the transfer of that thermal energy from one object to another. In science, heat is used only for this second meaning; it refers to the energy transferred due to the temperature difference between two objects. (6-8)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
  • The amount of energy transfer needed to change the temperature of a matter sample by a given amount depends on the nature of the matter, the size of the sample, and the environment. (6-8)
  • Energy is spontaneously transferred out of hotter regions or objects and into colder ones. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Cause and Effect (K-12)
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change. (3-5)
  • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. (6-8)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
  • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects. (4-5)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used. (3-5)
    • Represent data in tables and various graphical displays (bar graphs and pictographs) to reveal patterns that indicate relationships. (3)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems. (3-5)
    • Use evidence (e.g., measurements, observations, patterns) to construct an explanation. (4)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
  • Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to include investigations that control variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions. (3-5)
    • Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon. (4)

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Heat and Temperature
Unit Title: Understanding Temperature and Heat for Teachers of the Early Grades

In this lab for Grades 3-5, students work in teams to investigate the heat capacity of various materials.  Printable student worksheets and data sheets are provided.  CAUTION:  Hot water is used in the lab.  Not appropriate for primary grades.

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AIP Format
(Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, Boulder, 2005), WWW Document, (http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_lesson06_activity2.xml).
AJP/PRST-PER
Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?, (Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, Boulder, 2005), <http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_lesson06_activity2.xml>.
APA Format
Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?. (2006, April 21). Retrieved October 2, 2014, from Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering: http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_lesson06_activity2.xml
Chicago Format
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering. Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?. Boulder: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, April 21, 2006. http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_lesson06_activity2.xml (accessed 2 October 2014).
MLA Format
Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?. Boulder: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, 2005. 21 Apr. 2006. 2 Oct. 2014 <http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_lesson06_activity2.xml>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?}, Publisher = {Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {2 October 2014}, Month = {April 21, 2006}, Year = {2005} }
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%T Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?
%D April 21, 2006
%I Integrated Teaching and Learning Program:  Teach Engineering
%C Boulder
%U http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_lesson06_activity2.xml
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D April 21, 2006
%T Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?
%I Integrated Teaching and Learning Program:  Teach Engineering
%V 2014
%N 2 October 2014
%8 April 21, 2006
%9 text/html
%U http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_lesson06_activity2.xml


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Teach Engineering: How Much Heat Will It Hold?:

Accompanies Teach Engineering: Make Your Own Temperature Scale

This activity for Grades 3-5 explores the difference between heat and temperature, as students construct their own thermometers and temperature scales.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Part Of Teach Engineering: How Hot Is It?

A link to the full module that accompanies this activity.

relation by Caroline Hall

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