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published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
content provider: the Wisconsin Online Resource Center: Wisc-Online
This interactive animation for Grades 5-8 explores methods of heat transfer and provides examples from everyday life.  Three methods of heat transfer are depicted: conduction, convection, and radiation.  

PBS Learning Media is a growing collection of more than 10,000 free educational resources compiled by researchers and experienced teachers to promote the use of digital resources in the classroom.
Editor's Note: This animation provides a good starting point to help students differentiate the everyday definition of "heat" and the scientific meaning, which refers to the transfer of thermal energy from one object to another due to temperature difference. It specifically meets NGSS content standards for middle school (PS3.Aii - Definition of Energy and PS3.Biii - Energy Transfer).
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
- Technology
= Multimedia
Thermo & Stat Mech
- First Law
= Heat Transfer
- Thermal Properties of Matter
= Temperature
- Middle School
- High School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- New teachers
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Free access
© 2004 http://www.wisc-online.com/copyright.asp
active learning, animation, radiation, science videos, simulation, video
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 21, 2008 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
July 15, 2022 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 17, 2008
Other Collections:

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
  • 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)
  • Energy is spontaneously transferred out of hotter regions or objects and into colder ones. (6-8)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 3-5: 4E/E2b. When warmer things are put with cooler ones, heat is transferred from the warmer ones to the cooler ones.
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
  • 6-8: 4E/M3. Thermal energy is transferred through a material by the collisions of atoms within the material. Over time, the thermal energy tends to spread out through a material and from one material to another if they are in contact. Thermal energy can also be transferred by means of currents in air, water, or other fluids. In addition, some thermal energy in all materials is transformed into light energy and radiated into the environment by electromagnetic waves; that light energy can be transformed back into thermal energy when the electromagnetic waves strike another material. As a result, a material tends to cool down unless some other form of energy is converted to thermal energy in the material.

This resource is part of 2 Physics Front Topical Units.

Topic: Heat and Temperature
Unit Title: The Relationship Between Heat and Temperature

Students can interactively explore conduction, convection, and radiation. This resource was designed to help kids understand the three types of heat transfer and be able to classify examples from everyday life.

Links to Units:

Topic: Heat and Temperature
Unit Title: Teaching about Heat and Thermal Energy

Well-organized Flash activity for middle school learners on methods of heat transfer, including conduction, convection, and radiation.   Registered users of Teachers' Domain can quickly correlate this item with their own state standards.

Links to Units:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2004), WWW Document, (https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07-sci-phys-thermalenergy/thermal-energy-transfer/).
PBS Learning Media: Heat Transfer (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2004), <https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07-sci-phys-thermalenergy/thermal-energy-transfer/>.
APA Format
PBS Learning Media: Heat Transfer. (2008, March 17). Retrieved July 24, 2024, from WGBH Educational Foundation: https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07-sci-phys-thermalenergy/thermal-energy-transfer/
Chicago Format
Wisconsin Online Resource Center: Wisc-Online. PBS Learning Media: Heat Transfer. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, March 17, 2008. https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07-sci-phys-thermalenergy/thermal-energy-transfer/ (accessed 24 July 2024).
MLA Format
PBS Learning Media: Heat Transfer. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2004. 17 Mar. 2008. Wisconsin Online Resource Center: Wisc-Online. 24 July 2024 <https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07-sci-phys-thermalenergy/thermal-energy-transfer/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PBS Learning Media: Heat Transfer}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {24 July 2024}, Month = {March 17, 2008}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%T PBS Learning Media:  Heat Transfer %D March 17, 2008 %I WGBH Educational Foundation %C Boston %U https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07-sci-phys-thermalenergy/thermal-energy-transfer/ %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D March 17, 2008 %T PBS Learning Media:  Heat Transfer %I WGBH Educational Foundation %V 2024 %N 24 July 2024 %8 March 17, 2008 %9 text/html %U https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07-sci-phys-thermalenergy/thermal-energy-transfer/

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