Thermal Energy Teacher Resources

Find Thermal Energy educational ideas and activities

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Differentiate between temperature and thermal energy. Your class will build a thermometer using simple materials and develop their own scale for measuring temperature. Discuss with your class and consider why engineers need to understand the properties of thermal energy.
Students measure the heat absorbed by different materials and learn why engineers need to know how different materials story thermal energy when designing buildings. In this heat capacity lesson plan, students use a thermometer to measure the heat of materials.
Learners study thermal energy and energy transfer to sea ice processes. For this energy transfer lesson, students make their own ice cream and discuss energy transfer and thermal energy. Learners view a radiation overhead and its role in sea ice growth. Students watch a demonstration using water, saltwater, and ice cubes. Learners complete a worksheet about melting the ice.
Conduct an experiment on the absorption of thermal energy. Discuss simple water heating systems and how characteristics of the parts can be changed. Your pupils work in groups and change one variable to observe the effect it has on how water absorbs thermal energy.
Fifth graders study thermal energy and conduction. In this thermal energy lesson, 5th graders participate in a series of investigations to study thermal energy transfer and conduction. Students complete a data worksheet for the experiments and draw a diagram for each example from the investigation. Students write a journal entry about conduction.
Sixth graders complete scientific experiments on thermal energy. In this scientific inquiry lesson, 6th graders complete experiments for a water heating device and change variables with the experiment to observe the effects on thermal energy. Students present their research through summaries and presentations.
Students define temperature and heat, distinguish between temperature and heat flow, calculate amount of heat energy released or absorbed in chemical process, and design procedure, through experimentation, to gather and evaluate data to achieve desired end.
In this thermal energy worksheet, students answer 6 questions about substances that have greater thermal energy, substances that take more thermal energy to raise their temperatures and the heat lost and gained by substances.
Examine how heat can be transferred between systems by reconstructing a diagram on energy flow and solving problems on heat flow and work done.
Sixth graders discover heat is conducted in a variety of ways. In this physical science instructional activity, 6th graders investigate various conductors of heat, they explain their findings, and discover how energy is exchanged between objects through radiation. To conclude the instructional activity, students write predictions in their science notebooks to questions prompted by the teacher.
Oh nuts! Do macadamias or almonds produce more thermal energy? Energy enthusiasts find out with this experiment. The objective is to demonstrate to your class how the chemical energy contained in foods can be converted into useable energy, a pertinent exercise when studying thermal energy with your physical science or STEM class.
Tenth graders investigate how energy is transferred from place to place. In this earth science lesson plan, 10th graders hypothesize which temperature data logger displays greater-than-mean temperature. They collect data over a period of 3 weeks and graph them to analyze the trend.
More than a week's worth of investigation is provided in this source. Physical science stars experiment to describe specific heat, conduction, convection, and radiation. They also discover the relationship between mechanical and thermal energy. These activities are all illuminating. You do not need to use all 12 to thoroughly introduce learners to thermodynamics concepts, but each of them is sure to ignite understanding!
Learners engage in three short, hands-on, in-class demos which expand students' understand of energy. First, using peanuts and heat, learners see how the human body burns food to make energy. Then, they create paper snake mobiles to explore how heat energy can cause motion. Finally, students determine the effect that heat energy from the sun (or a lamp) has on temperature by placing pans of water in different locations.
Students compare and contrast the different types of heat transfer. In this earth science lesson, students draw and label the energy transfer that takes place in sea ice. They make ice cream in the lab and explain how salt and ice work together to freeze the mixture.
Learners examine how steamships operate. They describe the necessary energy conversions. They construct a model paddlewheel ship. They use rubber bands as examples of potential and kinetic energy as they unwind and set the models in motion.
In this science worksheet, students read about temperature and thermal energy in a hurricane. Students also draw their own hurricane and label 5 different parts.
Elementary school physical scientists explore kinetic mechanical energy by dropping a golf ball on different surfaces. They discuss how human made materials might react to light differently from nature made materials. This lesson plan includes directions for the lab investigation as well as talking points for a lecture. Since no measurements are taken with the ball bounce activity, and the temperature activity is only discussed and not carried out, this standard lesson is not ideal.
Learners observe 3 demonstrations of heat and density.  In this experimental lesson students participate in an activity that allows them to see the Earth's plate boundaries. 
Sixth graders explore the concept of plate tectonics. In this earth science lesson, 6th graders conduct science investigations that require them to note how thermal energy is converted into kinetic energy in the form convection currents.

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