the Concord Consortium
the National Science Foundation
This activity combines a hands-on lab with a computer simulation, as students investigate and graph the changing temperature of a melting ice cube. In the first step, learners use a sensor to monitor temperature as ice melts in a cup of water. In the second step, the ice cube is melted in a cup of salt water. Interactive graphs allow easy plotting of Temperature vs. Time. The activity concludes with a simulation of the atomic structure of a hot liquid and a cold liquid. Click "Withdraw the Barrier" and watch the changing kinetic energy of the cold liquid particles as they mix with the hot liquid.
This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. The Concord Consortium develops deeply digital learning innovations for science, mathematics, and engineering.
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Editor's Note:This activity was developed for grades 6-8, but can be easily adapted to 9th grade physical science courses. Users who complete free registration may capture data, get help to build probeware activities, store student work, and customize existing models.
Metadata instance created
May 17, 2011
by Caroline Hall
September 21, 2012
by Caroline Hall
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
4D. The Structure of Matter
6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
6-8: 4D/M1cd. Atoms may link together in well-defined molecules, or may be packed together in crystal patterns. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances and determine the characteristic properties of substances.
6-8: 4D/M3ab. Atoms and molecules are perpetually in motion. Increased temperature means greater average energy of motion, so most substances expand when heated.
6-8: 4D/M3cd. In solids, the atoms or molecules are closely locked in position and can only vibrate. In liquids, they have higher energy, are more loosely connected, and can slide past one another; some molecules may get enough energy to escape into a gas. In gases, the atoms or molecules have still more energy and are free of one another except during occasional collisions.
9. The Mathematical World
9B. Symbolic Relationships
6-8: 9B/M3. Graphs can show a variety of possible relationships between two variables. As one variable increases uniformly, the other may do one of the following: increase or decrease steadily, increase or decrease faster and faster, get closer and closer to some limiting value, reach some intermediate maximum or minimum, alternately increase and decrease, increase or decrease in steps, or do something different from any of these.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
9-12: 11B/H5. The behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
Define, evaluate, and compare functions. (8)
8.F.2 Compare properties of two functions each represented in a different way (algebraically, graphically, numerically in tables, or by verbal descriptions).
Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
8.F.4 Construct a function to model a linear relationship between two quantities. Determine the rate of change and initial value of the function from a description of a relationship or from two (x, y) values, including reading these from a table or from a graph. Interpret the rate of change and initial value of a linear function in terms of the situation it models, and in terms of its graph or a table of values.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Heat and Temperature Unit Title: The Relationship Between Heat and Temperature
This activity combines a hands-on lab with a computer simulation as students investigate the changing temperature of a melting ice cube. They monitor the temperature of ice melting in: 1) water, and 2) salt water. Using interactive tools, students plot Temperature vs. Time for each environment. The activity concludes with a simulation of the atomic structure of a hot liquid vs. a cold liquid. What happens at the atomic level when they mix?
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