Make a Thermometer to Study the Temperature
- Define temperature
- Record temperature data with a homemade liquid thermometer
- Make graphs representing temperature data
- Interpret, compare, and explain temperature data
- Understands that outdoor air temperature changes over time and with place
Students experience the weather every day: they feel cold spring mornings and warm summer afternoons. This hands-on lesson helps them quantify how hot or cold it is by using a thermometer they will make themselves! Based on their gathered data and observations, students can infer patterns about how temperature varies by location and time.
NGSS AlignmentThis lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
For each group of students:
When choosing the materials for the homemade thermometer, consider that narrower tubes (straws) result in a more accurate thermometer because the same expansion or contraction of liquid and air will cause a rise or fall over a longer distance. As a drawback, the narrow straw might decrease the maximum temperature that the thermometer can reach. It might also be harder for students to drop the liquid in the tube while making the thermometer. Science Buddies staff found that a 0.2 inch diameter straw works well.
For the class:
Area of Science
Weather & Atmosphere
Teacher Tool Box
Explore Our Science Videos
Slippery Slopes - STEM activity
Stretchy Balloons! Fun STEM Activity
Paper Roller Coasters - Fun STEM Activity!