Activity Number
74
Editable
Important Notice!
Overview and Learning Objectives
Assessment
Classroom Practice
Central Concepts
Benchmarks and Standards
Macro Micro Link
Activity Credits
Requirements

Heat and Temperature (Windows only)

Interactive, scaffolded model

Activity Screenshot

Launch Activity

This Activity Requires:

  • Java 1.5+ - Java 1.5+ is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and greater. If you are using Mac OS X 10.3, you can download MW Version 1.3 and explore within it instead.

      Test your system to see if it meets the requirements

Important! If you cannot launch anything from this database, please follow the step-by-step instructions on the software page.

Please Note: Many models are linked to directly from within the database. When an activity employs our scripting language, Pedagogica, as do some of the "guided" activities, the initial download may take several minutes. Subsequent activities will not take a long time. See this page for further instructions.

Important Notice!

The activity will work properly on Windows.

return to top

Overview and Learning Objectives

Students use a computer simulation to discover the connection between temperature and kinetic energy [energy of motion]. The computer simulation shows a box divided into two sections by a wall that can be removed. Students can then fill either side of the box with molecules of varying mass. They can also adjust the temperature of either side. Graphs show the average kinetic energy of atoms in each section. Students are asked to experiment with the various options for adjusting the temperature and/or mass in either section. Students can also remove the partition so that atoms from either side can mix.

Students will be able to:

  • Describe, using references to a computer model, that temperature is related to the average kinetic energy of atoms in a container;
  • Evaluate when a system has reached thermal equilibrium;
  • Distinguish between the terms heat and temperature.

return to top

Assessment

Besides the questions embeddded in the activity, the Teacher Guide suggests:

Have students write several things in their notebooks:

  1. What is the difference between heat and temperature?
  2. Compare a cup of water to a gallon jug of water. Assuming they are the same temperature, the heat energy would best be compared in which way: they have the same heat energy, the cup of water has more heat energy, or the gallon of water has more heat energy?
  3. Explain why everything that is left out on the counter becomes room temperature. Describe what is happening at the atomic level.
  4. Do you think the atoms inside the flame of a hot air balloon burner are moving fast or slow? Why?
  5. How does the heat that is generated by the burner spread out through the entire balloon?
  6. Why does the balloon cool down? Explain what happens at the atomic level.

Other questions:

We have two containers into which we introduce a gas. One container has ten times as much gas as the other. Under what circumstances could the container with the smaller amount of gas have a higher temperature than the other container? The same temperature as the other container? A lower temperature than the other container?

Under what circumstances could the container with the smaller amount of gas have higher amount of heat energy than the other container? The same amount of heat energy as the other container? A lower amount of heat energy than the other container?

We say that when a hot object and a cold object are put into contact, heat flows from the hot object to the cold object. Why don't we say the cold flows from the cold object to the hot object?

return to top

Classroom Practice

http://www.concord.org/~barbara/workbench_web/unit1/1-12TempAndKE.html

This activity is one of a larger module: Atoms in Motion

http://www.concord.org/~barbara/workbench_web/unit1/index.html

return to top

Central Concepts

Key Concept:

Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the atoms of a substance, while heat is the total kinetic energy of those atoms.

Additional Related Concepts

Physics/Chemistry

  • Energy
  • Heat energy
  • Kinetic energy
  • Temperature

return to top

Benchmarks and Standards

NSES

  • Physical-Science: Energy Conservation / Entropy - 3 Heat consists of random motion and the vibrations of atoms, molecules, and ions (Full Text of Standard)

return to top

Macro Micro Link

In this activity students will see the connection between heat, temperature, and the kinetic energy of atoms. As the burner heats the air at the mouth of the balloon, a cascading effect of heating up molecules near the burner causes those molecules to move faster due to their increase in kinetic energy. These fast moving, hot molecules bump into those nearby and so on, until the heat energy (which is just a bunch of moving molecules) raises the temperature throughout the balloon.

Other macro connections:

  • Room temperature occurs because of the way atoms and molecules transfer energy to each other through collisions. The transfer of kinetic energy is actually a transfer of heat energy, so the temperature of everything that is in contact with everything else eventually becomes equal, reaching thermal equilibrium.
  • Because people are not at room temperature, there must be some other process going on inside our bodies to prevent this from happening.

return to top

Activity Credits

Created by CC Project: SAM using Molecular Workbench

return to top

Requirements

  • Java 1.5+ - Java 1.5+ is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and greater. If you are using Mac OS X 10.3, you can download MW Version 1.3 and explore within it instead.

return to top

NSF Logo
These materials are based upon work supported
by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers
9980620, ESI-0242701, EIA-0219345, DUE-0402553, and 0628181.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the National Science Foundation.