Subtopic 1:The concepts of heat and temperature

Sub-Topic #1

In order to help students understand the particulate nature of matter, the first sub-topic in this unit will seek to connect students’ experiences with heat and temperature to the scientific understanding of these concepts.    

Students will watch a video on heat and temperature (Eureka, Episode 6) and observe a corresponding demo (live version) of the situation presented in the video.  Here, students are presented with questions such as, “Which contains molecules that are moving faster, a bucket of water at 50 degrees Celsius or a cup of water at 100 degrees Celsius?”,  “Which contains more energy, the bucket of water or the cup of water?”, “Which would be better at warming up a kiddie pool, the bucket or the cup?” Through these discussion, students will develop and understanding of the “degree of hotness” or temperature and the “amount of hotness” or heat/thermal energy (Eth).  

Students will then be presented with various scenarios such as a stopped car being moved

forward when struck from behind, hands being warmed with a cup of hot cocoa, and water being warmed in a microwave (etc) and will be asked to describe the mechanism for energy transfer in each.  The ideas of three mechanisms for transfer of energy [heating (Q), working (W) and radiating (R)]will be developed through conversations about these energy transfers.

Of the technologies discussed so far (social media, survey technology and mapping) mapping best fits with this lesson.  Mapping fits what is being taught in this lesson because students are being asked to distinguish between temperature and heat and to distinguish between mechanisms of energy transfer (heating, working and radiating) both of which are experienced in daily life.  After a video, demonstration and discussion of these concepts, students will be asked to create a map of the topics discussed.   


Learners will be able to:

    • Describe the difference between heat and temperature
      • Describe temperature as a measure of the average speed of particles
      • Describe heat as the total energy of a substance (speed of particle and number of particles)
    • Describe three energy transfer mechanisms (heating, Q, working, W, and radiating, R)
      • Describe heating as a result of collisions between particles,
      • Describe working as a result of exertion of force by macroscopic (visible) objects or collections of smaller particles (such as in a gas) as investigated in previous unit.
      • Describe radiating as absorption or emission of radiant energy (such as light, x-rays, microwaves, etc)


After viewing the video on heat and temperature, observing the demonstration of heat and temperature, and analyzing and discussing the mechanisms of energy transfer in various examples, make a map of these concepts.  

Your map should:

  • Have one central theme or concept connecting everything
  • Describe the difference and similarities between heat and temperature
  • Describe three mechanisms for energy transfer
  • Relate the mechanisms for energy transfer to the concepts of heat and temperature
  • Provide examples and/or explanation of each concept
  • Be clear and easy to read
  • Be attractive

Use one of the following tools to complete this mind map…

Link to Google Doc of Assignment:


Example of activity completed with Mindmeister mapping tool: