Subtopic 4: Applications of energy and phase changes

Subtopic #4

To help students understand the particulate nature of matter, the fourth sub-topic in this unit will focus on how changes in energy and phase changes can be applied in heating and cooling (as in a refrigerator) giving their learning practical application.  

First, students will use several resources to learn how energy and phase changes are used for the functioning of a refrigerator.  These will include an interactive Java applet, “How a Refrigerator Works” and two YouTube videos, “How Does a Refrigerator Work” and “How a Fridge Works”.  Next, students will work in pairs to make energy bar charts for at least one of the parts of a refrigerator (cooling coils, compressor, expansion valve). Finally, students will create a mini course about another device (not a refrigerator) to show that they can apply energy diagrams to various practical applications of intentional energy transfers.  The use of mobile technology is valuable in this lesson because it allows students to have a “real life” audience (their peers and possibly anyone on the internet if they so choose).  Mobile technology will allow their peers to access the mini course they create outside of school.


Learners will be able to:

  • Describe the energy and phase changes that occur in a refrigerator
  • Make a mobile application to share and quiz others about the energy changes that occur in a device that uses energy and/or phase changes (other than a refrigerator).


After using the interactive Java Applet “How a Refrigerator Works” and watching two YouTube videos, How Does a Refrigerator Work and , How a Fridge Works, work in a pair to make an energy bar chart for at least one part of a refrigerator (cooling coils, compressor, expansion valve).  Then, use EasyGenerator to make a mini course sharing how at least one part of a machine that uses energy changes and/or how phase changes works.  Include a quiz as part of your mini course. Examples of machines that use energy changes are air conditioners, heaters (various types such as hot water heat or steam heating) and the heat sink of a computer among others. You will need to research how the device you choose works before making your mini course.  

Link to Google Document of Assignment:


Link to EasyGenerator example of mobile learning activity: