Lesson 4: Heat and the Sun

Activities

Activity 1: The Laws of Thermodynamics

Materials: 3 glasses or cups, alligator clips (kit), battery (kit), buzzer (kit), color wheel (kit), motor (kit)
Thermodynamics is a branch of science that focuses on heat and how it is related to work, energy, temperature, and matter.

Investigate the first two laws of thermodynamics with the demonstrations on the "Laws of Thermodynamics" activity pages. Then explore the third law by watching the video.
Web Link
Assist your child as needed with connecting the battery to the motor and the buzzer.

For the first law of thermodynamics:
  • In the first demonstration, chemical energy is being converted into electrical energy in the battery. The motor converts electrical energy into kinetic energy to spin the color wheel.
  • In the second demonstration, chemical energy is being converted into electrical energy in the battery again, and the buzzer converts electricity into sound energy.
For the demonstration of the second law of thermodynamics, talk with your child about the explanation (the "What Happened?" section) on the activity page.

When your child has finished watching the video about absolute zero, ask her why being able to identify the temperature of absolute zero is helpful to scientists. (It gives scientists a number that means "no thermal energy" and is helpful for calculations involving thermal energy.)