If you have access to a few hand boilers (they're pretty cheap on Amazon), this is a wonderful way to incorporate the NGSS Science and Engineering Practice of "Develop and Use Models", as well as support the comprehension of how particles move in relation to thermal energy. Students are given a hand boiler without any explanation, and asked to develop their own idea of how they think it works. They are then given additional information about the hand boiler, and using this evidence they must re-evaluate and revise their model of how a hand boiler works. As a middle school science teachers, we can tell you first hand that this activity really makes the "light bulbs" go off above the student's heads!
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