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McREL Standards Activity

Cool It

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will be able to observe that materials transfer heat at different rates.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
 Standard 9.Understands the sources and properties of energy
   Level II [Grade 3-5]
   Benchmark 2. Knows that heat can move from one object to another by conduction and that some materials conduct heat better than others
 Standard 4.Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement
   Level II [Grade 3-5]
   Benchmark 2. Selects and uses appropriate tools for given measurement situations (e.g., rulers for length, measuring cups for capacity, protractors for angle)
 Standard 8.Understands the structure and properties of matter
   Level II [Grade 3-5]
   Benchmark 3. Knows that substances can be classified by their physical and chemical properties (e.g., magnetism, conductivity, density, solubility, boiling and melting points)
Student Product:Report of observations
Material & Resources:cups of different material (e.g., paper, metal, ceramic, styrofoam), cardboard or other material for covers, thermometers, cold water
Teacher's Note:Jars/jugs of water could be chilled in a refrigerator overnight for use in this activity. Alternately, warm tap water could be used.
Each student or small group is given 3 or 4 cups made of different materials. The initial temperature of the cold water should be measured with the thermometer and recorded. Each cup should then be filled with water and then covered with a lid, piece of cardboard, or other available cover (as long as each cup has the same kind of lid). After 10 minutes, students remove the lid of the first container and record the temperature of the water. Repeat this with the other containers. For the report, students should rank the cups according to how much the temperature has dropped. They should also judge which containers would be best for different beverages, explain why, and give some examples of other situations in which the materials might be used.