A Bundle of Phyz: HEAT + THERMO

Grade Levels
6th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education
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This bundle contains one or more resources with Google apps (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).


The bundle opens with a virtual demonstration of thermoscopes and a discussion of temperature scales. Next we have the classic ball and ring thermal expansion demonstration guide, followed by a demonstration to see the difference between hot and cold in a couple of ways.

The Mechanical Universe's "Temperature and the Gas Laws" is up next, followed by Conceptual Physics Alive's "Heat, Temperature, and Expansion".

To explore heat transfer, there's the "Conductivity Spider" demonstration guide (that could be used with a heat conductometer), Paul Hewitt's "Heat Transfer," my own "Radiometer" (really an infrascope) demonstration, and Hewitt's "Heat Radiation". The "Miracle Thaw" virtual demonstration ties up the heat transfer topic nicely. 

Jearl Walker's Kinetic Karnival episode, "The Leidenfrost Effect" is arguably his best work on video. While he cannot prepare a crêpe on an iron, he manages to plunge his hand into molten lead and pour liquid nitrogen into his mouth. He deploys physics to win a bar bet before walking across burning coals.

Next up is Hewitt's "Heat: Change of Phase," a fascinating topic in thermal physics largely abandoned in recent years. Might work well for an emergency sub plan.

On to thermodynamics with The Mechanical Universe episodes, "The Engine of Nature" (Sadi Carnot and the heat engines) and "Entropy" (ft. the adult beverage experiment intended for mature audiences only).

We end in the realm of cold. The Mechanical Universe's "Low Temperatures" is followed by a two-part PBS NOVA/BBC collaboration, "Absolute Zero". Part 1 is "The Conquest of Cold," and part 2 is "The Race for Absolute Zero". It's a thorough telling of low temperature research and of the very human researchers involved. 

All resources are available separately. All are Google Docs files on Google Drive. All include answer keys.

For additional (free) resources, see The Book of Phyz pages on

Temperature and Heat


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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample. Examples of experiments could include comparing final water temperatures after different masses of ice melted in the same volume of water with the same initial temperature, the temperature change of samples of different materials with the same mass as they cool or heat in the environment, or the same material with different masses when a specific amount of energy is added. Assessment does not include calculating the total amount of thermal energy transferred.
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics). Emphasis is on analyzing data from student investigations and using mathematical thinking to describe the energy changes both quantitatively and conceptually. Examples of investigations could include mixing liquids at different initial temperatures or adding objects at different temperatures to water. Assessment is limited to investigations based on materials and tools provided to students.
Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motion of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative position of particles (objects). Examples of phenomena at the macroscopic scale could include the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy, the energy stored due to position of an object above the earth, and the energy stored between two electrically-charged plates. Examples of models could include diagrams, drawings, descriptions, and computer simulations.
Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known. Emphasis is on explaining the meaning of mathematical expressions used in the model. Assessment is limited to basic algebraic expressions or computations; to systems of two or three components; and to thermal energy, kinetic energy, and/or the energies in gravitational, magnetic, or electric fields.
Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer. Examples of devices could include an insulated box, a solar cooker, and a Styrofoam cup. Assessment does not include calculating the total amount of thermal energy transferred.


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