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# Temperature misconceptions? Shake it off.

Most students understand that things get warmer as temperature goes up, but it is in the science lab that we have an opportunity to really help them understand what temperature means. One of the core ideas in Physical Science is that temperature is actually a measure of the kinetic energy of the particles of the matter. But when you’ve only thought about temperature as being hot or cold, this is an especially difficult concept because the “particles of matter” are hard to visualize.

One way to bring this concept into focus is to model the sub-microscopic world with something that the students can physically manipulate. We’ll shake things up in the lab by  modeling molecules with some craft beads.

To measure the temperature, I used a Wireless Temperature Sensor and SPARKvue software. After placing sensor into an empty jar with the beads, I just needed to add some energy. Next step… just shake that jar thing. With a wireless sensor this is easy—just put the lid on and shake it up

I imagine that an entire class of student shaking these beads could be quite a cacophony. These engaged students would definitely see (and hear) the motion of the particles inside their sample of matter. You may need to reign them in a bit and remind them that they should “shake it, don’t break it.”

We know the dancing around turned up the heat in your class, but did all of this movement affect the temperature in the jar? Let’s take a closer look at the data.

One way to bring this concept into focus is to model the sub-microscopic world with something that the students can physically manipulate. We’ll shake things up in the lab by  modeling molecules with some craft beads.

They say fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake, but the data doesn’t lie. While the temperature increase was small, we can clearly see that the sensor did measure a steady increase in the temperature.

Now that they have the basic idea of temperature, you can have the students tune their own own investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.

While the students are devising plans (and of course competing to see who can change the temperature the most), you can rest assured that they are understanding disciplinary core ideas and incorporating engineering practices and cross cutting concepts.

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• A big thanks for all the help and support you provided – I want to take some time to say a big thanks for all the help and support you provided me to select the best equipment in order to make the best possible use of the funds available. It is really exceptional that you happily connected with me multiple times even during the weekend and was always motivated to help. Please accept my big thanks for this.

Gurpreet Sidhu | Physics Instructor | University College of North | The Pas, MB

• Wireless Spectrometer Big Hit With Students – PASCO’s wireless spectrometer has been utilized very well by our earth science and physical science teachers. It’s an excellent piece of equipment and we have very much enjoyed its addition to enriching our classroom. It definitely brings students to a higher level of understanding wave interaction at a molecular level.

Matt Tumbach | Secondary Instructional Technology Leader | Tommy Douglas Collegiate | Saskatoon, SK

• Excellent Smart Cart – I thought the cart was excellent. The quick sampling rate for force will be very useful for momentum and collision labs we do. I’m recommending we include this in our order for next school year.

Reed Jeffrey | Science Department Head | Upper Canada College | Toronto ON

• Your lab equipment is of the highest quality and technical support is always there to help. During the 25 years we have used a wide array of lab equipment including computer interfacing. Your Pasco line has a high profile in our lab and will continue to do so far into the future.

Bob Chin | Lab Technician | Kwantlen Polytechnic University | Surrey, BC

• Datalogging Activities are Cross-Curricular

Throughout the province of Nova Scotia, PASCO’s probeware technology has been merged with the rollout of the new P-6 curriculum. We chose a number of sensors for use with our project-based activities. Both the functionality and mobility of PASCO’s dataloggers enable students to collect authentic, real-world data, test their hypotheses and build knowledge.

What we find important to a successful implementation and adoption by teachers is showing that the probes are not a ‘standalone technology’. The datalogging activities are very cross-curricular and can incorporate math, english, science, and geography outcomes.

We are excited to learn more about PASCO’s new weather sensor because our students enjoy projects where they can share and compare their data with weather stations from around the world and be part of a global community.

Mark Richards | Technology Integration Consultant | Annapolis Valley R.S.B. | Nova Scotia