FL6 Teacher Page: Heat Transfer

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Florida Science Standards

SC.6.E.7.1 Differentiate among radiation, conduction, and convection, the three mechanisms by which heat is transferred through Earth's system.

Connecting to Other Standards

This standard flows easily into the 6th grade standards on weather:
SC.6.E.7.2 Investigate and apply how the cycling of water between the atmosphere and hydrosphere has an effect on weather patterns and climate.
SC.6.E.7.3 Describe how global patterns such as the jet stream and ocean currents influence local weather in measurable terms such as temperature, air pressure, wind direction and speed, and humidity and precipitation.
SC.6.E.7.4 Differentiate and show interactions among the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
SC.6.E.7.5 Explain how energy provided by the sun influences global patterns of atmospheric movement and the temperature differences between air, water, and land.

It also ties easily into SC.6.P.11.1 (Explore the Law of Conservation of Energy by differentiating between potential and kinetic energy. Identify situations where kinetic energy is transformed into potential energy and vice versa. ) Heat transfer is an important part of the Law of Conservation of Energy, because any time energy is changed, some is changed into thermal energy.

Key Concepts:

  • Thermal energy: The energy in an object which gives it its temperature is thermal energy or internal energy. This is the kinetic energy of its moving atoms. The more internal, kinetic energy the atoms have, the hotter the object is.
  • Heat: Heat is thermal energy moving from one object to another. Heat will always move from a hotter object to a cooler object.
  • Conduction: The transfer of heat by direct contact.
  • Convection: The transfer of heat driven by changes in density. Heating a fluid (air, water, soup, etc.) causes it to expand. This makes it less dense, so it floats upwards, carrying the heat with it.
  • Radiation: The transfer of heat by electromagnetic waves, usually infrared light. This radiant energy can be absorbed and transformed back into thermal energy.

Misconception Alert:

Radiation: Be sure that your students understand that the term "radiation" used with the transfer of heat is not the same as when we are talking about particle radiation

Covering the Basics:

To give your students a basic understanding of this topic, do the following.

  1. The How Heat Moves video will introduce your students to radiation, conduction, and convection. If you are pressed for time, this video will satisfy the basics of this standard.
  2. Add more depth to the topic by using the following:
    • You can use this standard to lead into SC.6.E.7.2 by using Cloud Formation, part 1 and Cloud Formation, part 2. They show the role that convection plays in our weather.
    • The Science of Pizza deals with conduction and specific heat (the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of a substance.) It explains why two substances (pizza crust and cheese) can be the same temperature, but one will burn your mouth and the other will not. An excellent tie-in is to follow this video with a discussion of the specific heat of soil vs water, showing how the oceans play a huge role in moderating temperature changes.

Fun Facts

  • The Heating a Balloon activity is a fun way to get students thinking about heat transfer. Demonstrate the balloon over the candle flame, and then let them discuss why it works.

Supporting Standards from Previous Grades

SC.2.E.7.2 Investigate by observing and measuring, that the Sun's energy directly and indirectly warms the water, land, and air.
SC.3.E.6.1 Demonstrate that radiant energy from the Sun can heat objects and when the Sun is not present, heat may be lost.
SC.3.P.11.1 Investigate, observe, and explain that things that give off light often also give off heat.
SC.4.P.11.1 Recognize that heat flows from a hot object to a cold object and that heat flow may cause materials to change temperature.
SC.4.P.11.2 Identify common materials that conduct heat well or poorly.

If you need help with science questions, ways to explain or demonstrate concepts, or have a suggestion for an activity for the water cycle, please email me.

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