Unit 2: Exploring the Nature of Thermal Phenomena

Exploring Physical Phenomena: What happens when light from the Sun shines on the Earth?

Unit 2 Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Identifying Student Resources

A. Connecting to what one already knows about thermal phenomena

Question 2.1 What are some everyday experiences you have had with thermal phenomena?

1. Examples of student work identifying everyday connections to thermal phenomena

B. Documenting initial ideas with diagnostic questions about thermal phenomena

III. Developing Central Ideas Based on Evidence

A. Developing central ideas about thermal phenomena

Question 2.2 How would you rank different materials in order of temperature?

1. Example of student work about how different materials feel to the touch

Question 2.3 Why do some materials feel warmer or cooler than others?

2. Example of student work about developing central ideas based on evidence about thermal phenomena

3. Nuances in exploring how hot and cold different materials feel to the touch

4. Some thoughts about the nature of science in this context

B. Clarifying distinctions between closely related ideas

Question 2.4 What is the difference between the concepts of heat and temperature?

1. Example of student work clarifying the meaning of the words heat and temperature?

IV. Using Central Ideas about Thermal Phenomena to Explain an Intriguing Phenomenon

A. Applying the property of thermal conductivity in an everyday context

Question 2.5 Why do the metal legs of a chair feel cooler than its plastic seat?

1. Example of student work explaining an intriguing thermal phenomenon

V. Developing Additional Central Ideas about Thermal Phenomena

A. Exploring thermal phenomena with technology

Question 2.6 What can you find out about thermal phenomena with a temperature probe connected to a computer?

B.Exploring thermal phenomena with everyday materials

Question 2.7 What happens when you mix various amounts of hot and cold water?

1. Example of student work about mixing hot and cold water

2. Nuances about exploring thermal phenomena by mixing hot and cold water

3. Some thoughts about the nature of science in this context

VI. Developing an Additional Central Idea about Thermal Phenomena and Its Mathematical Representations

A. Interpreting features of line graphs

Question 2.8 How can you tell what is happening by interpreting the shape of a line graph?

B. Identifying patterns in the data

1. Designing a series of experiments to identify patterns in the data

Question 2.9 When mixing hot and cold water, how are the amounts of hot and cold water related to how much their temperatures change?

2. Recording and analyzing data

3. Interpreting findings

VII. Developing a Mathematical Representation of Thermal Phenomena Based on Theoretical Considerations

A. Considering what happens when energy flows from hot water to cold water

Question 2.11 What theoretical considerations can provide insights into what is happening when energy flows from the hot water into the cold water?

1. Example of student work developing a mathematical expression for a change in energy

2. An analogy to specific heat and the mathematical expression for change in energy

B. Considering the Law of Conservation of Energy

Question 2.12 How does the energy gained by the cold water compare to the energy lost by the hot water, assuming no energy is gained by the surrounding environment?

Question 2.13 How are these experimental and theoretical approaches related?

VIII. Using Mathematical Representations to Estimate a Quantity of Interest

A. Solving a thermal math problem

Question 2.14 How can one use mathematical representations of thermal phenomena to estimate a quantity of interest?

1. Example of student work generating and solving a thermal math problem

IX. Engaging Friends or Family Members in Exploring Thermal Phenomena

Question 2.15 What can you learn about science learning and teaching by engaging a friend or family member in learning about thermal phenomena?

1. Examples of student work about designing and solving thermal math problems with friends and/or family members

X. Making Connections to Educational Policies

A. Learning about crosscutting concepts articulated in the Next Generation Science Standards

Question 2.16 What relevant cross-cutting concepts have you used in exploring light and thermal phenomena?

B. Reflecting upon this exploration of thermal phenomena

C. Making connections to NGSS understandings about the nature of science

XI. Exploring Physical Phenomena: Summary of Equipment and Supplies for Unit 2

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Exploring Physical Phenomena by Emily Van Zee & Elizabeth Gire is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.