Friday, June 13, 2014

T for Temperature

See what we did for other letters in the Alphabet in Simple Science.

T for Temperature

Science Notebook Page (Click the picture to print).
We started out by talking about what temperature is and how hot things have a higher number than cold things.  We also read some books about hot and cold and watched The Magic School Bus: In the Arctic.  Then I got out our thermometers and we took our temperatures.  This let us talk about how our bodies increase our temperatures to fight germs, and why we take our temperatures when we're not feeling well.
Last week we did a Frozen Theme, and as part of it I froze some colored water in a star shaped ice cube tray.  We talked about how putting the water in the freezer turned it to ice.  Then I let him play with the stars outside.  They started melting and I asked him why.  He wasn't sure, so I had him thing about the what it is like in the freezer and what it is like outside.  It didn't take him long to figure out that they melted because they got warmer.  We also talked about how melting means it changes states (goes from solid to liquid).
We also did a temperature sorting activity from 1+1+1=1 (under letter H).

Exploring Temperatures
We were lucky in that my dad happened to have an infrared thermometer that he uses to check his engine (Amazon has them a lot cheaper than I would have expected.  I think my dad's was pretty expensive when he bought it.)  Anyway, we used it to go exploring around the house.  We made a list so we could compare temperatures both qualitatively and quantitatively.

We tested a cold burner (79F) and a warm one (488F).  Before we tested the warm one, I asked him to predict whether the number would be bigger or smaller than the cold burner.
We got some milk out of the fridge and I asked whether he thought it would be a high or low number.  Afterwards we tested an ice pack, and once again I had him predict whether the number would be higher or lower than that of the milk.
I completely forgot to get a picture, but we also tested the cement outside in the sun and compared it to the cement in the shade.  It was kind of nice because he could feel the different in temperature with his hand, making it less abstract.  We also tested the two different colors on his plastic slide, so see if the color made a difference in temperature.  We tested our legs, the deck, the grill, and lots of other things around the house.

Comparing Hot and Cold - Tricky Senses
While we were exploring temperature, I emphasized how temperature is the unit that we use to measure how hot or cold something is.  However, sometimes our brains can trick us into thinking something is hotter or colder than it really is.  I set out three bowls of water, one hot (although safe to little hands to touch), one cold, and one lukewarm.  I had him hold one hand in the hot bowl and one hand in the cold bowl for about a minute.  Then had him put both hands in the warm bowl.  Then I asked him to make observations.  He talked about how the water in the warm bowl was the same temperature, his different hands just thought it was different temperatures.
Keeping Warm
Blanket, mittens, coat, or other material used to keep warm

A common misconception little ones have is that blankets and coats make us warm by making heat.  To challenge this I had Xander do this investigation.  First I showed him a thermometer and how to read it.  Then I asked him what he does to stay warm.  We talked about putting on more clothes, coats, blankets, etc.  I asked him to go get his blanket and then predict what would happen if he covered up the thermometer.

We waited 15-20 minutes and came back to check.

When we found that the thermometer was still reading the same temperature, I had Xander think about why that might be.  He actually couldn't come up with an answer, so I helped him out a little.  I reminded him that our bodies are warm (we'd tested them with a few different thermometers).  When we put on clothing or a blanket, it helps trap that heat into our bodies.  Then I asked him whether the thermometer made heat.  Since it does not, the blanket can't help hold that heat in.  With an older child you could get into insulators and even conductors, but I decided to leave it there with him.

Check out my Alphabet in Simple Science Pinterest Board for more ideas!

1 comment:

  1. This is a really cool series! I'm so impressed with all the wonderful science you are doing! This is an area that I really want to do more in, so thank you for sharing!


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