Lesson Plan

Thermal Energy Flow in Materials

This Thermal Energy Flow in Materials lesson plan also includes:

The sun sends the earth 35,000 times the amount of energy required by all of us on the entire planet, every day. The fourth instructional activity in the 10-part series looks at how light energy from the sun transfers into thermal energy. Scholars build a solar oven as well as observe convection in liquids and conduction in solids—all through hands-on activities and experiments.

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CCSS: Adaptable
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Instructional Ideas
  • Extend the solar oven by predicting how long it would take to reheat a piece of pizza; what variables would one need to know to make a prediction? i.e. thickness, toppings, cloud cover, etc.
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires a lot of advanced preparation and construction of materials, which is time consuming
  • Be aware of any allergies when using food items
  • Remember to follow all safety guidelines with hot items
  • Highly visual lesson demonstrates the movement of thermal energy, which typically isn't observable
  • Includes two optional extension ideas
  • Offers teacher tips for setting up experiments to get the best results
  • None