Lesson plan

Heat transfer and sources

Experiment with ways that heat can be transferred (conduction, convection, radiation) then look at how we make heat.
Science content
Physics: Heat (3)
Physics: Energy forms, Conservation of Energy (1, 3, 4, 5)

Introduce heat (also called thermal energy), and that it can move from place to place. Brainstorm on sources of heat.
Ask students to rub their hands together to make heat by friction.

Do a selection of the activities.

Outdoors on a sunny day, heat sensitive sheets are super fun and demonstrate conduction and radiation (but they are expensive).

Activities that show different ways that heat can move:
Conduction activity (needs electric kettle, so indoors easiest): heat conduction in different materials.
Convection activity: heat convection demonstration. (can use a thermos of hot water if outdoors).
Convection activity indoors (where there are no drafts): candle heat pinwheel
Radiation demonstration indoors: Allow students to feel the heat coming from an incandescent light bulb from a distance (don't let them touch it or they will get hurt). The heat coming from the bulb is mostly by radiation. Only 1/8 of the heat energy is by conduction and convection. Radiation is also called infra red.
Radiation images: show infra red camera images (e.g. a house with windows radiating heat, a dog with heat radiating from parts of its body).

Both conduction and convection need molecules to transfer the heat energy.
Radiation does not need molecules. The sun is a source of radiation and travels through the vacuum of space to reach Earth.

Heat sources activity.

Grades taught
Gr 3