Last week I reviewed my heat unit with one of my favorite science experiments. It’s fairly easy to complete, and it really helps students understand the concept of insulators and conductors (which almost always gives my students trouble). All you need is a glass cup, plastic cup, and 2 Styrofoam cups (one with a lid and one without a lid), a source of hot water, and thermometers. I only do this activity with one group at a time, because I get a little nervous doing it with a whole group since it does involve hot water. I had each group fill their cup with water and place all four cups in a microwave. After the water has heated up, students should record the initial temperature of the water, and then measure the temperature again after ten and 20 total minutes.
**I do not allow students to remove the cups from the microwave. I’m the only one who can touch anything until I make sure everything is safe.**
I have my students fill out this recording sheet (which is on TpT) as they work to help them organize their information. It’s always surprising to see that the class cup has the highest temperature initially, but has the lowest temperature after the 20 minutes. I cannot say how many times I heard, “This is so much fun” or “I love science” when we did this experiment. I think those are the times that make my job so awesome!