Thermal Energy Teacher Resources

Thermal Energy is one example of kinetic energy and encompasses several thermodynamic operations.  A good place to start a study of thermal energy is with a presentation that defines the term and distinguishes between thermal energy, temperature, and heat. This lesson examines the relationship between thermal and mechanical energy. A short video explains how thermal energy is found in both matches and ice sculptures.

The study of thermal energy also considers how energy is transferred in air and water by convection, in solids by conduction, and through space by radiation. What better way to heat up a classroom than with experiments and activities that let young scientists explore these transfers? To study convection in liquids and conduction in solids, middle schoolers build a solar oven. To differentiate between thermal energy and temperature, primary graders can join in on the fun as they build their own thermometers or conduct an ice cube experiment. High schoolers get into the act by examining thermal energy transfer through electromagnetic waves or using an interactive simulation to observe energy transfer.

Check out these hands-on activities that use solar power to cook hotdogs or one that answers the question of whether macadamias or almonds produce more thermal energy. How about a lab that trains learners how to locate a source of thermal energy blindfolded? And with the current focus on recycling and renewable energy sources, this activity models how to use thermal energy waste to generate electricity.

No matter the grade level, we have resources guaranteed to light up learners.

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