Newton's Law of Cooling

Newton's Law of Cooling
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Students come to see the exponential trend demonstrated through the changing temperatures measured while heating and cooling a beaker of water. This task is accomplished by first appealing to students' real-life heating and cooling experiences, and by showing an example exponential curve. After reviewing the basic principles of heat transfer, students make predictions about the heating and cooling curves of a beaker of tepid water in different environments. During a simple teacher demonstration/experiment, students gather temperature data while a beaker of tepid water cools in an ice water bath, and while it heats up in a hot water bath. They plot the data to create heating and cooling curves, which are recognized as having exponential trends, verifying Newton's result that the change in a sample's temperature is proportional to the difference between the sample's temperature and the temperature of the environment around it. Students apply and explore how their new knowledge may be applied to real-world engineering applications. This engineering curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
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Teaching Duration
50 minutes
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