Water Cycle - Atmosphere (4)

PROBLEM: Do different substances heat up and cool down at different rates?


MATERIALS: soil, dark sand, light sand, water, salt water, thermometers, styrofoam cups, cafeteria trays, clock, sunlight (or heat lamps)


  1. Fill each of the cups 1/2 full with the materials listed below.
  2. Place a thermometer into a cup 1/2 full of each of the materials listed. (Try to make sure each one is the same distance below the surface) and place all of your group cups on a tray.
  3. Record the starting temperature of each of the materials in your data table.
  4. Place your tray in the sunlight (heat lamp) for 10 minutes and record the temperature in your data table.
  5. Bring the trays inside (turn off the heat lamp) and let them cool for 10 minutes before your record the temperatures.



starting temperature

after 10 min. heating

after 10 min. cooling



dark sand


light sand




salt water



  1. Which one heated the fastest?
  2. Which one cooled the fastest?
  3. What happens to the air above a substance as it heats up?
  4. What would happen if a substance that heated up fast was next to a substance that heated very slow? 

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