ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Investigating Heat Transfer within Earth's Atmosphere: Radiation and Convection

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Hannah Bradley
System: Dothan City
School: Carver Magnet School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35577

Title:

Investigating Heat Transfer within Earth's Atmosphere: Radiation and Convection

Overview/Annotation:

This lesson will begin with students discussing ways that we can feel the sun’s energy even though the sun is very far away from Earth. Then, the teacher will introduce the three methods of heat transfer (radiation, conduction, and convection) utilizing an online video clip, and the students will take jot notes while viewing the video clip. Next, the students will perform an experiment to investigate radiation as a form of heat transfer by recording how the temperature of ice changes when exposed to an energy source (solar energy or heat energy from a clamp lamp). Then, students will perform an experiment to investigate convection as a form of heat transfer using blue dyed ice cubes and warmed red food coloring, to create a convection cycle within a container filled with room-temperature water. Lastly, students will apply the data gathered from the experiments to write a response to the question: “How is heat energy from the sun distributed between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere?”

This lesson results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 6
22 ) Write informative or explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. [W.6.2]

a. Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison or contrast, and cause and effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. [W.6.2a]

b. Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples. [W.6.2b]

c. Use appropriate transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts. [W.6.2c]

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. [W.6.2d]

e. Establish and maintain a formal style. [W.6.2e]

f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the information or explanation presented. [W.6.2f]


Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.6.22 - Compose informative or explanatory texts by stating a topic, providing facts or details, and providing an appropriate conclusion related to the topic.
ELA.AAS.6.22a - Introduce a topic.
ELA.AAS.6.22b - Develop a topic with facts, details, or other information and examples.
ELA.AAS.6.22f - Provide a concluding statement.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 6
Earth and Space Science
13 ) Use models (e.g., diagrams, maps, globes, digital representations) to explain how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

a. Use experiments to investigate how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection and radiation (e.g., warmer water in a pan rising as cooler water sinks, warming one's hands by a campfire).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models
Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Explain by using models, how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric circulation that determine regional climates.
  • Explain by using models, how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
  • Use experiments to investigate how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection.
  • Use experiments to investigate how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by radiation.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Model
  • Diagram
  • Map
  • Globe
  • Digital representation
  • Rotation
  • Heat
  • Pattern
  • Atmosphere
  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Ocean
  • Oceanic circulation
  • Climate
  • Regional climate
  • Radiation
  • Sun
  • Solar energy
  • Thermal energy
  • Water
  • Land
  • Ice
  • Temperature
  • Matter
  • Conduction
  • Latitude
  • Altitude
  • Geography
  • Geographic land distribution
  • Precipitation
  • Absorption
  • Landform
  • Atmospheric flow
  • Mountain
  • Rain shadow effect
  • Coriolis force
  • Fluid
  • Density
  • Salinity
  • Global ocean convection cycle
  • Landmass
  • Marine
  • Coast
  • Variation
  • Radiation
  • Electromagnetic wave
  • Space
  • Convection
  • Current
  • Liquid
  • Gas
  • Equator
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Radiation from the sun (solar energy) introduces heat (thermal energy) into Earth's atmosphere, water, land, and ice.
  • Thermal energy exists in the atmosphere, water, land, and ice as represented by temperature.
  • Thermal energy moves from areas of high temperature to areas of lower temperature either through the movement of matter, via radiation, or via conduction of heat from warmer objects to cooler objects.
  • Absorbing or releasing thermal energy produces a more rapid change in temperature on land compared to in water.
  • Absorbing or releasing thermal energy produces a more rapid change in temperature in the atmosphere compared to either on land or in water so the atmosphere is warmed or cooled by being in contact with land or the ocean.
  • The rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation vary by latitude, altitude, and geographic land distribution.
  • Higher latitudes receive less solar energy per unit of area than do lower latitudes, resulting in temperature differences based on latitude.
  • A general latitudinal pattern in climate exists where higher average annual temperatures are found near the equator and lower average annual temperatures are at higher latitudes.
  • Latitudinal temperature differences are caused by more direct light (greater energy per unit of area) at the equator (more solar energy) and less direct light at the poles (less solar energy).
  • A general latitudinal pattern of drier and wetter climates caused by the shift in the amount of air moisture during precipitation from rising moisture-rich air and the sinking of dry air.
  • In general, areas at higher altitudes have lower average temperatures than do areas at lower altitudes. Because of the direct relationship between temperature and pressure, given the same amount of thermal energy, air at lower pressures (higher altitudes) will have lower temperatures than air at higher pressures (lower altitudes).
  • Features on the Earth's surface, such as the amount of solar energy reflected back into the atmosphere or the absorption of solar energy by living things, affect the amount of solar energy transferred into heat energy.
  • Landforms affect atmospheric flows (e.g., mountains deflect wind and/or force it to higher elevation, known as the rain shadow effect).
  • The geographical distribution of land limits where ocean currents can flow.
  • The Earth's rotation causes oceanic and atmospheric flows to curve when viewed from the rotating surface of Earth (Coriolis force).
  • Fluid matter (i.e., air, water) flows from areas of higher density to areas of lower density (due to temperature or salinity). The density of a fluid can vary for several different reasons (e.g., changes in salinity and temperature of water can each cause changes in density). Differences in salinity and temperature can, therefore, cause fluids to move vertically and, as a result of vertical movement, also horizontally because of density differences.
  • Ocean circulation is dependent upon the transfer of heat by the global ocean convection cycle, which is constrained by the Coriolis effect and the outlines of continents.
  • Because water can absorb more solar energy for every degree change in temperature compared to land, there is a greater and more rapid temperature change on land than in the ocean. At the centers of landmasses, this leads to conditions typical of continental climate patterns.
  • Climates near large water bodies, such as marine coasts, have comparatively smaller changes in temperature relative to the center of the landmass. Land near the oceans can exchange thermal energy through the air, resulting in smaller changes in temperature. At the edges of landmasses, this leads to marine climates.
  • Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents.
  • Radiation is the transfer of heat energy by electromagnetic wave motion. The transfer of energy from the sun across nearly empty space is accomplished primarily by radiation.
  • Radiation from the sun (solar energy) introduces heat (thermal energy) into Earth's atmosphere, water, land, and ice.
  • Convection is the transfer of heat by a current and can occur in a liquid or a gas.
  • When air near the ground is warmed by heat radiating from Earth's surface. The warm air is less dense, so it rises. As it rises, it cools. The cool air is dense, so it sinks to the surface. This creates a convection current.
  • Convection is the most important way that heat travels in the atmosphere.
  • Convection in the atmosphere is responsible for the redistribution of heat from the warm equatorial regions to higher latitudes and from the surface upward.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Use a model of Earth and identify the relevant components of Earth's system, including inputs and outputs.
  • Describe the relationships between components of the model including how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including how the rotation of Earth and unequal heating of its surface create patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Identify and describe the phenomenon under investigation, which includes how energy is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere.
  • Identify and describe the purpose of the investigation, which includes providing evidence that energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection and radiation.
  • Collect and record data, according to the given investigation plan.
  • Evaluate the data to determine how energy from the sun is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere by convection and radiation.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and organisms. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.
  • The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.
  • Radiation from the sun (solar energy) introduces heat (thermal energy) into Earth's atmosphere, water, land, and ice and is represented by temperature. Thermal energy moves from areas of high temperature to areas of lower temperature on Earth's surface and in its atmosphere either through radiation or convection.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Understanding Weather and Climate (for both 13 and 13a)

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E8.11a: The Sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on Earth's surface.

NAEP Statement::
E8.11b: It provides energy for plants to grow and drives convection within the atmosphere and oceans, producing winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle.

NAEP Statement::
E8.13a: Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather.

NAEP Statement::
E8.13b: Oceans have a major effect on climate because water in the oceans holds a large amount of heat.

NAEP Statement::
P8.10a: Energy is transferred from place to place.

NAEP Statement::
P8.10b: Light energy from the Sun travels through space to Earth (radiation).

NAEP Statement::
P8.10c: Thermal energy travels from a flame through the metal of a cooking pan to the water in the pan (conduction).

NAEP Statement::
P8.10d: Air warmed by a fireplace moves around a room (convection).

NAEP Statement::
P8.10e: Waves (including sound and seismic waves, waves on water, and light waves) have energy and transfer energy when they interact with matter.

NAEP Statement::
P8.11a: A tiny fraction of the light energy from the Sun reaches Earth.

NAEP Statement::
P8.11b: Light energy from the Sun is Earth's primary source of energy, heating Earth surfaces and providing the energy that results in wind, ocean currents, and storms.



Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.6.13 - Use models to investigate how energy from the sun impacts Earth's surface; recognize that uneven heating of Earth's surface causes patterns in weather and climate. SCI.AAS.6.13a - Recognize that the sun's thermal energy is distributed throughout Earth's atmosphere by convection and radiation.


Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will conduct an experiment to investigate how heat energy is transferred through radiation.
  • Students will conduct an experiment to investigate how heat energy is transferred through convection.
  • Students will analyze the results of the experiments to describe how solar energy is distributed between Earth's surface and its atmosphere.
  • Students will write an explanatory text to convey scientific ideas using relevant facts from a text and data from the experiments.
  • Students will use domain-specific vocabulary to explain the topics of radiation and convection.
  • Students will write a paragraph that includes a topic and conclusion sentence.  

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student Materials

For Acceleration Activities

Materials for Experiment 1-Radiation (per group)

  • Thermometer
  • Stopwatch (or another timekeeping device)
  • Glass beaker or similar container
  • Ice (enough to fill each group’s container)
  • Clamp lamp (if these are unavailable, the experiment can be performed outside on a sunny day)
  • Experiment 1 Handout
  • Graph paper or online graph creator such as Create-a-Graph

Materials for Experiment 2-Convection (per group)

  • One blue-dyed ice cube
  • Clear rectangular plastic container (such as a Tupperware container)
  • Room temperature water to fill container
  • Red and blue colored pencils, crayons, markers, or pens
  • Experiment 2 Handout

Teacher Materials

  • Chart paper or interactive whiteboard

Video clips for Before Strategy:

Teacher Materials for Experiment 2-Convection

  • Warmed red food coloring (warm bottle of food coloring using warm water)

Technology Resources Needed:

Teacher Technology Resources

Teacher computer with projector or interactive whiteboard and ability to project sound

Student Technology Resources

Internet capable devices

Background/Preparation:

Student Background Information: As this lesson will serve as an introduction to radiation and convection as methods of heat transfer, students will not need background information on these concepts.

However, students will need experience with carrying out investigations related to conduction as a method of heat transfer, which is related to the Fourth Grade Alabama Course of Study Science Standard 2:

2.) Plan and carry out investigations that explain transference of energy from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

a. Provide evidence that heat can be produced in many ways (e.g., rubbing hands together, burning leaves) and can move from one object to another by conduction.

In order to understand the convection currents experiment, students will need to possess background knowledge about the physical property of density, which is related to the Fifth Grade Alabama Course of Study Science Standards 3 and 5:

3.) Examine matter through observations and measurements to identify materials (e.g., powders, metals, minerals, liquids) based on their properties (e.g., color, hardness, reflectivity, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, response to magnetic forces, solubility, density).

5.) Construct explanations from observations to determine how the density of an object affects whether the object sinks or floats when placed in a liquid.

Students will work in collaborative groups to complete the experiments in this lesson. The teacher should be sure that students are aware of the procedures and expectations of group work.

Safety Considerations: The teacher should require students to wear safety goggles during the experiments. 

Teacher Background Information: This lesson will focus on two types of heat transfer: radiation and convection. Radiation is the transfer of heat through space. One example of radiation is feeling the sun’s heat on your face when you go outside. Convection is the transfer of heat through movement of a fluid (liquid or gas). Warm fluids are less dense, and tend to rise, while cold fluids are denser, and tend to sink. This rising, warm fluid and sinking, cold fluid creates a cycle of convection currents. Solar energy transfers heat through space to Earth’s atmosphere through radiation, and this heat energy is transferred throughout Earth’s atmosphere via convection currents. These two methods of heat transfer that occur within Earth’s atmosphere determine regional climates.

As written, this lesson is designed for the teacher to introduce the concepts of the lesson and allow the students to perform the first experiment in one class period. Then, the teacher will allow the students to perform the second experiment and after activities in a second class period. The teacher should feel free to change the timing of the lesson to best fit his or her needs.

The teacher should ensure that all materials are gathered prior to teaching the lesson. The second experiment related to convection will require the teacher to pre-make blue-dyed ice cubes. The teacher should add blue food coloring to water in an ice cube tray and freeze the water overnight. The teacher should be sure to make enough ice for each group to have at least one ice cube. In addition, the teacher will need to warm a bottle of red food coloring by placing the bottle in warm water. This experiment will also require the teacher to fill a rectangular plastic container with room temperature water for each student group. The convection experiment included in this lesson was adapted from "Make Convection Currents!” from the Climate Discovery Teacher’s Guide.

The students will need access to this nonfiction text “Introduction to the Atmosphere” from UCAR. If internet capable devices are unavailable to students, the teacher should make a copy of the text for students prior to beginning the lesson.

  Procedures/Activities: 

Before Strategy/Engage: 20 minutes (Day 1)

1. The teacher should pose this question to students: “How can we feel the sun’s energy?” The teacher should allow students to “turn and talk” to a classmate for approximately two minutes to try to answer this question.

2. The teacher should write the question on chart paper or the interactive whiteboard and allow students to share their answers they discussed with a classmate. The teacher should record students’ answers on the chart. Possible answers may include, “We feel the sun’s energy as heat,” or “We can feel the sun’s energy when we get a sunburn.” The teacher should lead students to the understanding that even though the Earth is very far away from the sun (about 93 million miles), we can still feel its energy.

3. Next, the teacher should choose one of the video clips to show students. “Heat” from Scholastic StudyJams is an animated video with an accompanying quiz. “Three Methods of Heat Transfer” from Jeremy Rochelle Tech on youtube.com was created by middle school students. For either video clip, the teacher should direct students to write down the three main types of heat transfer on their sheet of notebook paper. The teacher should ask students to jot down short facts about each type of heat transfer.

4. After showing the video clip, the teacher should create a three-column chart on chart paper or the interactive whiteboard. Each column should be titled with one type of heat transfer listed in the video clip: radiation, conduction, and convection. The teacher should allow students to share information they learned about each type of heat transfer while watching the video clip and add their information to the chart.

During Strategy/Explore & Explain: 45 minutes per experiment

The teacher should divide students into collaborative groups of approximately four students each for the experiment portion of this lesson.

Day 1 Experiment-Radiation

Note: This experiment can be performed outside using solar energy or inside using a clamp lamp as a source of heat energy.

1. The teacher should assign each member of the group one of the following roles: timekeeper, recorder, materials gatherer, and team leader. Each student will need a copy of the Experiment 1 Handout.

2. The teacher should ask the materials gatherer from each group to collect the container full of ice and thermometer. The teacher should be sure that each group gets the same amount of ice to ensure a fair scientific test.

3. The team leader should put the thermometer in the container of ice and the recorder should write down the starting temperature on the Experiment 1 Handout.

4. If clamp lamps are being used, the team leader should turn on the lamp at the same time as the timekeeper starts the timer. If the experiment is being performed outside, the timekeeper should press start on the timer after the recorder writes the starting temperature.

5. The timekeeper should call out the time to the recorder at one-minute intervals and the recorder should write the temperature next to the appropriate time on the Experiment 1 Handout.

6. After the ten minutes have elapsed, the materials gatherer should return the materials to the teacher, and the other students should write down the recorded temperatures on their Experiment 1 Handout.

7. Next, using graph paper or an online graph creator, such as Create-a-Graph, each student will graph the change in the temperature over the ten minutes. The students will need to develop a title for their graph, then label the x-axis “Time”, and y-axis “Temperature”. The students will create a line graph using the data collected from the experiment. 

8. After completing the graph, the students will need to keep the completed Experiment 1 Handout and graph for the after portion of the lesson.

Day 2 Experiment-Convection

1. Each group will need a rectangular plastic container filled with room-temperature water. The teacher should instruct the students to be very careful to not disturb the container of water during the experiment to ensure a fair test. Each student in the group will need a copy of the Experiment 2 Handout.

2. Before the teacher adds the blue ice cube and warmed red food coloring to the plastic container, the students should make a prediction as indicated on the Experiment 2 Handout.

3. After students make their prediction, the teacher should place a blue-dyed ice cube at one end of the rectangular container, then add two drops of warmed red food coloring at the opposite end of the container. Students should observe the movement of the food coloring as it travels through the water. Students will use a red and blue color to record a sketch of the dye’s movement.

4. Lastly, students will answer the reflection question on the Experiment 2 Handout.

After Strategy/Explain & Elaborate: 30 minutes (Day 2)

1. The students should review their data collected from each experiment on the Experiment 1 Handout and Experiment 2 Handout.

2. The students should write this question at the top of their notebook paper: “How is heat energy from the sun distributed between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere?” The teacher should allow students to discuss the answer to the question with their group members and jot notes about possible answers to this question. The teacher should direct students to think about the experiments they conducted and determine how these types of heat transfer might heat Earth’s atmosphere.

3. With their group members, the students should read “Introduction to the Atmosphere” from UCAR and add additional notes to their notebook paper that will answer the focus question.

4. Lastly, the teacher should give each student the Investigating Heat Transfer within Earth’s Atmosphere Assessment. The students should use the data collected during the experiments and the information learned from the text to answer the question on the assessment handout.


  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment: The teacher should informally assess students in the Before Strategy as students share their current knowledge of methods of heat transfer. The teacher should carefully observe students as they perform the experiments to ensure students are following directions and collecting accurate data. The teacher should review each student’s completed Experiment 1 Handout and Experiment 2 Handout to ensure the student collected accurate data while performing the experiments. The teacher can review the notes that students take during the After Strategy to determine if students are able to apply the data collected during the experiments in relation to Earth’s atmosphere. If the students are not able to determine how the experiments are related to Earth’s atmosphere, the teacher may wish to provide additional instruction prior to students beginning their written response.

Summative Assessment: The teacher should formally assess students at the conclusion of the lesson by reviewing each student's paragraph. The teacher should determine each student's achievement of the lesson's objectives by assessing the student's writing using the Investigating Heat Transfer within Earth’s Atmosphere Assessment Checklist.

Acceleration:

To expand upon the topics taught in this lesson, students requiring acceleration can further explore the three main types of heat transfer by creating a foldable, such as “Radiation, Conduction, & Convection Foldable” from Smith Science and Lit on teacherspayteachers.com, or sorting examples of the types of heat transfer using this card sort activity from 5th Grade Store by Ms. Ma on teacherspayteachers.com. Both of these activities are available as a free download after the teacher creates an account on the website.

Intervention:

Students who require additional preparation before the lesson or extra assistance after the lesson, can read the nonfiction text “What is Heat?” from readworks.org. The nonfiction text is accompanied by ten questions that the teacher can use as an assessment. This activity is available as a free download after the teacher creates an account on the website.


View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.