Heating and cooling teaching resources

Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about heat transfer (GCSE and Key Stage 3)

This is one of my favourite demonstrations and is a fantastic use of cognitive conflict to get students to reconsider their own ideas about hot and cold surfaces, temperature, conduction, energy transfer and insulation. Make sure students have a sound understanding of the particle model before approaching conduction or convection.   

The need for a thermometer

This demonstration asks students to place one hard in cold water and the other in warm water before putting both hands in a bowl at room temperature. This demonstration shows how humans as notoriously bad at sensing temperature and therefore there is a need for a device, such as a thermometer, to measure it.

Modelling convection – let’s make a tea bag fly!

This is a really great and simple demonstration. Get a posh tea bag (the one with the string) and remove the staple. Unfold the tea bag and remove the tea. Get the bag into a cylinder shape and stand upright. Light the top of the tea bag and stand back. This is a safe demonstration that will get students thinking about convection.

Conduction and expansion

Ask students why power lines sag on a hot day. Power lines are an interesting context for using the idea of conduction.

Temperature and heat

GCSE worksheet on temperature and heat. Students are given a problem to solve involving cups of tea and milk. They need to predict which cup will be colder after milk is added at different times. The question provides an opportunity to listen to student understanding about temperature and energy transfer by heating so that appropriate feedback can be given. (PDF)

  1. Energy transfer by heating
  2. Internal energy
  3. Specific heat capacity