1 class periods of 30 minutes each
Students build water thermometers out of straws and film canisters.
For the Teacher:
- Put holes the size of straws into the lid of film canisters using a large nail and hammer or a drill.
For the each student:
- 35 mm film container with lid with hole
- Clear plastic straw
- Red food coloring
- 3X5 index card
- White glue
Background for Teachers
Atmospheric temperature can be affected by sunlight, wind, latitude, altitude, and the land surface. Temperature can also be affected by surface reflections. Heat is a form of energy caused by the internal motion of molecules. The slower the molecules are moving, the less heat is present. Temperature is a measure of heat energy in a substance.
Intended Learning Outcomes
- Use instruments to measure temperature.
- Record data accurately.
- Pass out materials to students.
- As a class, make a thermometer according to the following instructions.
- Fill containers full of very cold water.
- Add two or three drops of red food coloring to the water.
- Put the film canister lid back on the container.
- Put a straw through the hole and then place white glue around the straw to seal it to the container. The thermometer needs to be air-tight.
- As the water in the canister gets warmer, the water will rise in the straw. Place the container on a plate in case water spills out the top of the straw.
- After the temperature of the water has stabilized at room temperature, tape the 3x5 card behind the straw and calibrate the height of the column of water by using a commercial thermometer.
- Measure and record temperatures over the next week.
- Graph the temperatures.
Check the each student's thermometer for accuracy. If the thermometer measures temperature, the student completed the assignment.