Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Heat as Energy Transfer


The goal of this activity is for students to recognize heat as an energy transfer and to devise methods to account for heat in energy transfer/transformation events. This activity is an open inquiry investigation.

In the Preliminary Observations, students observe an energy transformation event in which thermal energy is either added to the system or released to the environment. Students discuss what role thermal energy played in the demonstration and explore how to account for thermal energy in an energy model.

Students then choose, plan, and execute their own investigation into thermal energy and energy conservation. They can choose to investigate thermal energy in one of the demonstrations outlined in the Preliminary Observations or one of their own creation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design and perform an investigation.
  • Draw a conclusion from evidence.
  • Explore how to account for thermal energy transfer during energy transformation events.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS3.A Definitions of Energy
  • PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and Effect
  • Energy and Matter

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Experiment 34 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book

<i>Physics Explorations and Projects</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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