- Understand the Calorie as a unit of food energy.
- Explain the processes that allow a calorimeter to measure the energy stored in food.
- Use a homemade calorimeter to measure and calculate the energy content of a food item.
- Explain the relationship between calories, energy, and good nutrition.
OverviewYour students might know that they can burn calories, but do they know what a calorie really is? In this fun lesson plan, your students will measure the energy content of food by literally burning it using a device called a calorimeter that they will design and build themselves. This will get your students thinking about the chemistry of energy transfer as well as good nutrition, and gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "burning calories!"
NGSS AlignmentThis lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
Two photos show the materials needed to build a homemade calorimeter next to a photo of foods that can be used for testing the calorimeter. The building materials include a coffee can, aluminum can, safety goggles, wooden dowel, aluminum pie pan, rubber bands, cork and sewing needles. A photo of foods and supplies required to test includes: cashews, pecans, marshmallows, a croissant, cereal, a grill lighter, a scale, a calculator, an oven mitt and a towel.
For each group of 2–4 students, you will need:
To prepare ahead, you will need:
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Area of Science
Human Biology & Health
Food Energy, Healthy Diet
Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
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