In this activity, students will make observations that things in direct sunlight are warmer than things that are not in as much sunlight. Also, they may notice that there may be more heat near asphalt, brick, or cement because heat can be stored and radiated from these, also.
Careful observation and measuring are important steps in scientific investigations. Students at this age are usually encouraged to observe similarities and differences or even changes in objects. Good observations include using as many of the senses as possible - sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell. It includes picking things up and touching them, feeling them, etc. Challenge students to observe carefully, so they can notice when changes are happening.
Learning to use a thermometer will help students make quantitative observations, in which they will be able to tell exactly what the temperature is, or whether something is becoming warmer or colder. Students should practice holding the thermometer by the edges, and not on the glass bulb, to get an accurate reading.
Heat is the name given to the flow of energy from hotter to cooler objects. Temperature is the measurement of how hot or cold something is. In hotter substances, the molecules are moving very rapidly, while in colder substances, the molecules slow down.
Most of the heat found on Earth comes from the sun, and is used by all living things. This heat travels by radiation through invisible rays from the sun.
In this activity, students will make observations that things in direct sunlight are warmer than things that are not in as much sunlight. Also, they may notice that there may be more heat near asphalt, brick, or cement because heat can be stored and radiated from these also.
1. Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Pre-Assessment/Invitation to Learn - Option 1
Before Handing out Thermometers: Start a game of I Spy in the classroom, in which students are given clues to certain things in the room, which they identify. (For example: I spy something that is a round sphere. It can spin around. One of its colors is blue. Can anyone guess what it is? You're right - it's the globe. ) Tell students that one of the things scientists do very well is to make good observations.
Hand out material to be observed to students (peanuts, shells, buttons, types of cereal, etc.). Encourage students to make observations.
Hand out two UV beads per student. Do not tell them what they are, but ask students to make observations about them. Tell students you would like them to make a bracelet for these, and they can wear them all day while they make observations. At the end of the school day, you will ask them what observations they made.
Pre-Assessment/Invitation to Learn - Option 2
Have the students go on an imaginary hike to a cave with you (an optional script - Cave Hunt (pdf) - is attached, or just tell the students about going in a cave). Have students imagine they are hiking up the trail with you, and it is a long, hot hike. Then describe how cold it is in the cave. When the lights are turned off, have the students close their eyes and shiver with you. With their eyes closed, they can't see anything. They can rub their hands together to try to get warm, but it is cold and dark. When they are finally through the cave, they can open their eyes, and stretch out their arms to the sun to get warm. Ask how many have been in caves. Is it hard to see? Is it cold? It is so nice to have light! Where do our lights come from?
Homework & Family Connections
Mention in a parent letter that students are learning to measure with thermometers, and ask parents to point out thermometers around the house.
Check student worksheets to see if students correctly drew the temperature for each group, and correctly put the temperatures in order from highest to lowest.