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Thursday, September 4, 2014
Heat Transfer Science Activities
By Guest Blogger: Jenessa Crandall
Hello Fellow Teachers!
I have done a lot with the unit on Heat Transfer in the past
year. I did it for classroom placement,
as well in my science methods college course!
I just wanted to share a couple of center ideas that both my sixth grade
students and college peers really enjoyed!
The Dancing Quarter:
•glass (empty) soda bottles
Step 1: Have students put a dab of oil on side of the
quarter. You may need to help if it is a large container of oil.
Step 2: Place the glass bottle into the bowl.
Step 3: Have the student place the quarter on top of the
glass soda bottle, with the oil side facing down. (The oil acts as a sealant
and keeps the air trapped inside the bottle).
Step 4: Tell the students to observe the quarter while you
pour hot water (near boiling) into the bowl.
The quarter should move around on top of the bottle.This is best used as inquiry! I asked my
students questions like: What do you see the quarter doing? How is that
happening? Explain what heat process is taking place? I also like to extend and
ask if any heat transfer process are taking place, other than convection.Help them discover that conduction is also
being used in this experiment.
experiment was originally called “The Dancing Penny” when I found it. I quickly
discovered the most soda bottles had to big of an opening and pennies would
just fall inside the bottle. So I
recommend using a quarter. Also the
initial experiment asks students to warm up the bottle with their hands. This doesn’t give as obvious of a result so I
adapted and chose to use hot water in the bowl so that students could see
results immediately. I also highly recommend that you test this out on your own
before you do it in the class so that you know how to make it work!
•Individual cups for each student (solo cups)
This experiment is very simple! Place the popcorn in the
microwave and ask them to observe and collaborate with one another to decide
what heat transfer process is taking place. Its a simple way to show everyday
use of radiation and gives them a tasty treat!
The Ice Melt: Conduction
•Ice cubes (one for each student)
Step 1: Have each student take a Ziploc bag and an ice
cube. Ask them to put he ice in their bag and seal it tightly.
Step 2: Tell the students that the objective is to melt their
ice cube as fast as they can. They are
only allowed to use their body as a heat source, nothing more. On your mark,
get set, GO!
Step 3: After
someone has melted their ice completely, discuss why their ice melted faster
than everyone else’s. What method did they use? How did that create more
heat? What heat process was everyone
using in order to melt their ice?
The kids love this mini competition and are very engaged! Great
way to show them a simple form of conduction!
Before we did all these centers, we had students create a simple
three flap foldable that had the definitions of conduction, convection and
radiation so they could refer to them during the experiments.We also had them write their findings and
examples of each heat transfer on the other side of the flaps. At the end, they
glued it into their interactive science notebooks!
Hopefully this information was useful! These centers are pretty
easy to prepare but they are very engaging for students! Thats a win in any
teacher’s world! Thanks for reading!