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Measuring Temperature

Measuring Temperature

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, prisms, mirrors, pan balances, triple beam balances, spring scales, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows how to use a variety of tools, materials and methods to conduct science inquiry.

Science Background

Temperature Measurement, Thermometers: School for Champions (website) - Information about how a thermometer works, different types of thermometers, and how to calibrate a thermometer.

Temperature Measurement, Thermometers
School for Champions,

Thermal Energy Physics: (website) - Explains the physical science of thermal energy and relates it to heat, absolute zero, temperature scale and more.

Thermal Energy Physics

Temperature Scales: School for Champions (website) - Background on the evolution and applications of different temperature scales (Celsius, Kelvin, Fahrenheit), and explanations for converting from one scale to another. This information also could be used as the basis for a history investigation.

Temperature Scales
School for Champions,

Signature Lesson

Physics in a Bottle, Expanding Thermometers: Physics Central (website) - Students build their own thermometers with a water bottle and a straw; collect, record and analyze temperature data with their instruments, and learn how/why the thermometers work.

Physics in a Bottle, Expanding Thermometers
Physics Central,

Supporting Lessons

EnergyWorks: (PDF) - Use several activities from this energy workbook.  Activities related to temperature begins on page 11.


The Mitten Problem: Power Sleuth (PDF) - This activity uses a familiar experience (using gloves/mittens to keep hands warm) to elicit students’ ideas about heat and temperature, and to promote exploration of students’ developing understanding of heat sources.

The Mitten Problem
Power Sleuth,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Stop Heat from Escaping: TeachEngineering (website) - Students explore the concept of heat (and energy) conservation by testing several materials as insulators.

Stop Heat from Escaping

Assessment Ideas

Interactive Thermometer: (website) - Students rank different items identified by an online, interactive thermometer, from coldest to hottest. They can check their answers individually or as a group.

Interactive Thermometer

Literature Connections

Temperature: Heating Up and Cooling Down. Stille, D. (ISBN-13: 978-1404803459)

Hot or Cold? Martin, Elena (ISBN-13: 978-0736816984)

Practical Temperature Measuring. Childs, Peter (ISBN-13: 978-0750650809)

Temperature (Measuring the Weather). Rodgers, Alan (ISBN-13: 978-1432900809)

Related Science TEKS

(5.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations.

(5.1B) Recycling/Disposal of Science Materials
The student is expected to make informed choices in the conservation, disposal, and recycling of materials.

(5.2A) Design/Conduct Experiment with One Variable
The student is expected describe, plan, and implement simple experimental investigations testing one variable.

(5.2B) Ask Questions, Formulate a Hypothesis
The student is expected to ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology.

(5.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.

(5.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain
The student is expected analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect (inferred) evidence.

(5.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms.

(5.2G) Graphs, Tables, Charts
The student is expected construct appropriate simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using technology, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.

Related Math TEKS

5.12B    The student is expected to use experimental results to make predictions.

5.14D    The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

5.15A    The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Temperature Game: NASA (website) - This interactive online game teaches students about the relative temperatures of different locations and objects.

Temperature Game

What’s the Weather: FOSSWEB (website) - Cold, hot, warm, cool: what does the temperature mean to you? This interactive animation asks students to help the bear decide what to wear, based on the weather outside.

What's the Weather

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