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How to Make a Thermometer

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 45 minutes.

Group Size:
Large Groups


Students will make a thermometer showing that liquids when heated expand.

Main Curriculum Tie:
SEEd - Grade 6 (2017)
Strand 6.2: Energy Affects Matter 6.2.3

Plan and carry out an investigation to determine the relationship between temperature, the amount of heat transferred, and the change of average particle motion in various types or amounts of matter. Emphasize recording and evaluating data, and communicating the results of the investigation.


  • strong plastic bottle with a scew cap
  • a thin plastic straw
  • modeling clay
  • water colored with poster paint.
  • worksheet


Student Prior Knowledge:
Particles move. When heated particles move even more.

Instructional Procedures:

  1. Drill a hole in plastic bottle caps. You can have the kids collect and bring the bottles.
  2. Put the straw into the hole and seal with the clay.
  3. Fill the Bottle 1/2 full of colored water. Make the water come about 3/4 the way up the straw then close the lid tightly.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Put the Thermometer into a bowl of ice water and see what happens to the water level.
  6. Put it into warm water.

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Sep 30 2014 12:25 PM

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