Summer Fun Activities

Summer Fun Activity: Feel the Heat {Free Download}

Summer Fun Activity: Feel the Heat {Free Download}

Ready to feel the heat with a fun summer activity that presents a learning challenge?

The challenge:

  1. To build a solar water heater.
  2. To test it to see how high it can raise the temperature of the water.
  3. To continue testing and improve the design to get the greatest temperature change of the water possible.

This 5-page Design Squad download from PBS/NASA will provide a great summer activity for older students — fun, but purposeful!

First, students are presented with the background idea — astronauts staying on the moon will need a heat source to protect them from the frigid temperatures.  An example of a hot water heater is shown.  But don’t let this example limit the participant’s own design!

Next, they are presented with the challenge sheet containing a summary of the challenge, suggestions, and design hints.  Then they start the build-and-test process.  More ideas are provided for redesign.

After the experiment is finished, questions for discussion and wrap-up are included.

Science concepts covered include:

  • Heat transfer.
  • Infrared radiation.
  • The conversion of light to heat energy.
  • Gravity-fed water systems.
  • Measurement.

Although obviously aimed at older students, younger folks will have a great time participating.  Perfect way to ease the family back into the coming year!

 

Suggestions
  • Solar water heaters are very practical.  Give the participants a chance to come up with ways to put their design to use.
  • If there is time, encourage your students to experiment with other designs.  A simple online search will provide great ideas for brainstorming.
  • Test and compare the results from more than one design.
  • Complete one or more of the “Extend the Challenge” ideas by connecting the solar heaters in series or building a solar cooker.
  • Make a simple notebooking page to document the results.

 

Additional Resources

Summer Fun Activity: Build a Solar Oven
Great option for the extended activities.

10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #7 Science10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #7 Science
Lots of notebooking options for recording the results.