Students will learn heat transfer by designing a refrigerator and wearing winter clothing.
Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - 3rd Grade
Standard 5 Objective 1
Provide evidence showing that the sun is the source of heat and light for Earth.
Design a Refrigerator
For the class:
For each group:
- Small plastic cup
- 2 ice cubes
- 2 paper towels
- 12” wax paper
- 12” tin foil
- Ziploc® bag
- Cotton balls
- Fabric scraps
Does Winter Clothing Create Heat?
- Thermometers (6-8)
- Experiments with Heat, by Walter Olesky; ISBN
- Temperature, by Joy Frisch; ISBN 1-58340-159-8
- Heat, by Graham Peacock; ISBN 1-56847-075-4
- Forest Fire!, by Mary Ann Fraser; ISBN 0-8167-4962-0
Background For Teachers:
The sun is the main source of heat and light for organisms living on
Earth. Plants need sunlight to make food. Animals cannot make their
own food. They must eat plants or other animals in order to live.
Without sunlight there would be no living things on Earth. Anything
that gives off heat is a heat source. You can measure the difference in
temperature with a thermometer. A thermometer uses a scale with each
unit called a degree. When you place an ice cube in a glass of water, the
ice cube takes heat from the water as it cools.
Many students have the misconception that coats and gloves give off
heat. Heat is the flow of energy from hotter to cooler objects. Coats and
gloves help stop that flow of energy and trap or hold the heat. Insulators
are materials that block the flow of heat so warm things tend to stay
warm, or cold items stay cool longer. Good insulators are plastics, air,
fabrics that hold air, feathers, etc.
Temperature is a measurement of how much heat an object has.
Thermometers can be used to dispel the misconception that clothing
gives off heat. Measuring mittens, gloves, and coats before they are
worn and while a person is wearing them teaches students that heat from
their hands or bodies is trapped by the clothing.
Science Words to Know
Electrical—uses electricity or batteries
Lubricate—to make a surface slippery
Machines—tools with fixed or moving parts for doing work
Mechanical—does not use electricity (uses burning fuel, human
energy, flowing water, or even horse power) to give energy
Heat source—makes things warm
Temperature—how warm or cold
Degree—unit of measure for temperature on a thermometer
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Invite two students come to front of the class and give each of them
an ice cube in a sealable bag. Have the students hold the ice cube and
ask, “What is happening?”
Clarify that the ice did not bring cold
to the hand, but the heat from
the hands moved to the ice cube, until they finally became the same
Design a Refrigerator
Tell the students that today they are going to design a refrigerator.
The goal is to keep their ice cube from melting. They may use one
paper towel, one piece of waxed paper, one piece of tin foil, and one
plastic container (and any of the optional materials they want).
Explain that they will have five minutes to assemble their refrigerator.
At the end of the five minutes, they must wait 20 minutes before they
may open their refrigerator and discover how well it worked.
- Gather materials.
- Weigh and record the weight of each ice cube.
- Place one ice cube on a
paper towel on a desk out of the sun
(do not touch or disturb in any way). Use the materials any
way you choose to try to keep the ice cube from melting as
much as possible.
- Wait 20 minutes. Open your refrigerator and compare the
ice cubes. Is there any difference? Record what happened.
- Which design
seemed to work best? Why do you think that is?
Clarify that the refrigerator insulated the ice cube and stopped the
transfer of heat.
Does Winter Clothing Create Heat?
- Invite students
to come to the front of the class and put on a
coat, hat, and mittens/gloves. Ask them what is happening to
- Ask the class, “Do you think that outdoor winter clothing
makes you warm?” “Is there heat in the coat, the hat, or the
- Show different types of gloves, mittens, coats,
and hats. Have
students predict if the clothing items will warm up the body and if
they think one will warm better than another.
what students will say.
- Divide students into groups of three. Give each group
an item of
clothing. Allow students to select their role in the group:
Time Keeper—tells the temperature reader when to read the
Temperature Reader—tells the data recorder what the temperature
is at the time
Data Recorder—writes the temperature in the data chart
the temperature on the thermometer after sitting on a desk
for two minutes. Record the temperature.
- Put the thermometer inside the
article of clothing and check the
temperature after two minutes. Record the temperature.
- Have one student
put the clothing on with the thermometer
touching the person inside the glove, coat, or hat. Record the
temperature after five minutes.
- Remove the clothing. Set it on a desk out
of the sun, put the
thermometer inside and wait five minutes. Record the
- What happened? Does a coat give off heat? Do gloves
Journal—Teachers need to write themselves a reminder to check
for student misconceptions.
- Place students of different
abilities in each group. Each student
should have a meaningful role.
- Have students explain/tell what they
- Use explicit instruction to teach vocabulary.
- Use pictures and other
visual aids to assist comprehension.
- Have students create a graph for the
Winter Clothing activity.
- 3 two quart bowls
- Ice cubes
- Place water with ice cubes in one
bowl, warm water (not above
118° F) in one bowl, and room temperature water (or an equal
mixture of the cold and warm water) in the third bow.
- Call on one student
to place one hand in the cold and the other in
the warm water. After minute place both hands in the medium
- Ask, “What do you feel?”
(The hand that was in warm water should feel cooler and the hand
that was in cold water should feel warmer than the other hand.)
- Cut a piece of foil larger that your
- Place the foil and the carpet sample on a tile floor. Allow them
to remain undisturbed for ten minutes.
- Put one bare foot on the foil and
the other bare foot on the
- Observe any difference between the feel of the temperature of
(The metal foil feels colder than the carpet because a good
conductor [foil] allows heat to move through it, while the carpet
[a good insulator] blocks the flow of heat from your foot. Things
feel cooler when heat energy is drawn away from your skin.)
- Have students bring materials
from home to make another
- Have students design a refrigerator at home and bring
with the class.
Rubric for Winter Clothing
4 correct, complete, detailed
3 partially correct, complete, detailed
2 partially correct or complete, lacks some detail
1 incorrect or incomplete, missing data, needs help
0 no attempt
National Academics Press, (1996). National Science Education
Full Inquiry involves asking a simple question, completing an
investigation, answering a question, and presenting the results to others.
American Association for the Advancement of Science: Project 2061. (1994).
for Science Literacy. ISBN 0195089863
Tools such as thermometers, magnifiers, rulers, and balances often
give more information than can be obtained through observation.
Gerber, B.L., Brovey, A.J., & Price, C.B. (2002). Site-Based Professional
Learning Cycle and Technology Integration. Research report.
Learning cycles consist of three phases: exploration, concept
invention where teachers guide students in interpreting data, and
expansion (application of new concept; may include additional lab
investigations, textual readings, and/or audio visual aids).
Created Date :
Dec 02 2005 10:24 AM