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Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Fulcrum Institute Development Team


Welcome to Conceptual Distinctions: The Case of Heat and Temperature!

This semester you investigate heat and temperature. You'll use probes to measure temperature change as you explore heat transfer in the environment around you. In the weeks to come, you'll tell a story of heat in your life as you untangle the contributions of different modes of heat transfer and sort out the conceptual distinction between heat and temperature.

There are two parts to your work this week:

  1. Your study begins with a focus on temperature in your kitchen. Your goal this week is to become familiar with temperatures of objects and places in the everyday world and to establish temperature benchmarks in degrees Celsius. Your challenge is to reveal the patterns that you can’t see. The data you collect and a computer modeling tool you use will make the invisible visible and allow you to begin to tell a story about temperature and heat in your kitchen.
  2. At the end of the week, you'll record your initial thinking about heat and temperature in a thought experiment about how to cool warm soda.

Join your colleagues online to share your experiences, and to formulate questions that you can investigate in the coming weeks.

Understanding Goals

  • Understand that temperature is a measure of the average energy of motion of particles
  • Establish benchmarks for temperatures on the Celsius scale

What you Need

  • A paper notebook that will serve as your course journal
  • Graph Paper
  • From your kit
    • Your Vernier temperature probes and Logger Lite software
    • 8 aluminum backed thermometers