1. Invite the children to examine the two containers and let them know that you will fill them both with warm water at the same temperature.
2. Share with the children that they will be taking the temperatures of the two containers every 5 minutes for a period of 30 minutes, recording the temperatures, and graphing them. Have each group designate a timer, temperature reader, recorder, and grapher. Allow them to become familiar with their instruments. Emphasize that it is important to get the readings on the 5-minute mark. Remind them that the water is HOT and they need to be very careful when getting the temperature.
3. Fill the containers of each team about 2/3 full. Have them take a temperature immediately. Continue timing, measuring, and recording for 30 minutes.
4. As they get into the routine of collecting and recording the data, discuss how they should prepare their graph.
5. Have the groups continue to collect their data and graph it.
6. At the end of 30 minutes, invite the children to wrap up their data collecting and graphing and to discuss their results with their team. They should see about a 10° temperature difference in the two containers.
7. As a group, discuss their findings.
Review with the children what they have just learned about the volume and cooling rates of planets, drawing connections between interior heat and volcanism. Invite them to record their observations in their GSI Journals.
Cooling Planets is a 60 minute inquiry activity in which children, ages 8 to 13, take temperature readings from large and small containers of hot water, and graph the measurements to determine how volume affects cooling. They use this information to interpret the cooling histories of the different sizes of the inner, rocky planets of our inner solar system.
This demonstration involves very hot water and requires adult supervision at all times.
For each child:
For each group of 3 to 4 children:
Clear soda bottles with the tops cut off work, as do other types of containers; the two containers must be the same shape, thickness, and material
For the Facilitator: