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.