An introduction to thermal physics and to the concepts of temperature, heat, thermal energy, thermal equilibrium, thermal conductivity, thermal expansion and contraction (2nd grade of Gymnasium).

An introduction to the fundamental concepts, laws and principles of thermodynamics (2nd grade of Lyceum).

2nd grade of Gymnasium

Why do woollen clothes keep us warm? How do radiators work? Why do the metal legs of a chair feel colder than its wooden surface at the same temperature? How do igloos keep Inuit warm? Why do pots and pans have wooden or plastic handles?

This series of experiments will help 2nd grade of Gymnasium students discover the science of everyday life and explore the concepts of temperature, heat, thermal energy and thermal equilibrium.

Students will experiment with different materials and explore how heat is transferred through conduction, convection and radiation. Students will become familiar with such phenomena as expansion and contraction, melting, freezing, sublimation, evaporation and condensation and they will encounter good and bad conductors of heat.

Topics Covered

  1. Temperature – heat – thermal energy.
  2. Conservation of energy.
  3. Heat engines – Hero’s aeolipile (Hero’s engine).
  4. Thermal expansion and contraction.
  5. Good and bad conductors of heat.
  6. Heat transfer (conduction, convection, radiation).
  7. Thermal equilibrium.
  8. The building blocks of matter.
  9. Phase transitions.

2nd grade of Lyceum

The knowledge we have about matter and heat date back to the beginning of the 20th century, when scientists began studying gases. The understanding of how gases behave was essential to the development of a plethora of technologies, such as internal combustion engines, ovens, fridges and air conditioning.

Through a series of experiments designed according to the 2nd grade of Lyceum curriculum, students will become familiar with the ideal gas law and the laws of thermodynamics and their everyday life applications.

Students will explore the difference between temperature and heat, heat transfer, thermal conductivity and the relationship among pressure, volume and temperature of a gas. The experiments will provide answers to such questions as: Why can’t a heat engine have 100% efficiency? Why does heat flow from a hot to a cold body?

Topics Covered

  1. Temperature – heat – thermal energy.
  2. Heat transfer (conduction, convection, radiation).
  3. Thermal equilibrium.
  4. The building blocks of matter.
  5. Kinetic theory of gases.
  6. Gas laws (Boyle, Charles, Gay-Lussac).
  7. Ideal gas law.
  8. 1st law of thermodynamics.
  9. Conservation of energy.
  10. Heat engines.
  11. 2nd law of thermodynamics.
  12. Entropy.

Learning Objectives

Introduction to the fundamental concepts of temperature and heat and the basic principles of thermodynamics.
Demonstration of complex concepts in a simple, interesting and fun way.
Develop critical thinking.
Enhance learning by having students predict the demonstration outcome before seeing it.
Establish the relationship between science and technology.
Recognize scientific and technological applications to everyday life.