Temperature, Water and Weather

Experimenting how sun, land, and water influence  temperature

KINDERGARTEN - heating and cooling

         Comparing how substances heat up.
         Taking temperature of different substances 


         Drippy the Hippie by C. Fries optional
dark sand, light sand, soil
Small tray (i.e. meat tray) (make want to make permanent sand containers, so you can easily put them out)
sunlight (or heat lamps)
cafeteria trays  (or anything to bring out materials)


Water most probably originated on this planet as gases emitted from volcanoes.  The Earth's atmosphere captured this water and has continuously recycled it throughout time, in what is called the water cycle.  Water evaporates and forms clouds. The clouds provide rain and snow, which is collected in rivers, lakes, underground reservoirs, and oceans that are the source for further evaporation.  Heat from the Sun helps fuel the water cycle.  In this lesson the students will learn that different substances heat up differently. 

Under the same solar radiation (temperature), different substances will heat up differently. Oceans heat up slowly, but cool very slowly. Land heats up quickly, but then cools quickly. This causes a difference in air pressure which in turn causes wind. Breezes can be caused by conditions created by this changing heat.

Air that is warmed exerts less pressure on the ground causing a low pressure region. Air that is cooled is denser, causing a high pressure region. Remember that cold, cool, warm, and hot are relative terms. The movement of air is greatest from high pressure to low pressure when the temperature differential is the greatest.


The lab exercise is to prove to students that certain substances will heat up more quickly than others.  In your discussion you might want to review that heat makes molecules of a substance move faster.

Light sand reflects more heat than dark sand, so it takes longer to heat up.  Different surfaces on earth (water, ice, soil, and rock) heat at different rates.  Salt water takes more heat to warm up than fresh water.  .

Heat lamps work quickly in the classroom.  If you are using sunlight this activity may require more time.   NOTE: If you are short on time, you may want to prepare a set that is outside already for 10 minutes.

  1. Heat fuels the water cycle and in these lessons students will use their skills in taking temperature to compare difference substances.Put the materials listed in the studentís lab sheet in a tray or cup.  You can easily substitute or add objects.  Make sure there is enough material so the thermometerís reading is accurate. 
  2. Place a thermometer into soil, black sand, and white sand.  Emphasize with students that each thermometer should be the same distance below the surface. 
  3. Students should record the starting temperature of each of the materials in data table. Use different color crayons to show start, 10 minutes and cool down.
  4. Students should place their tray in the sunlight (heat lamp) for 10 minutes and record the temperature in their data table or you can create a data chart on the board and have the students provide their data.
  5. While you are waiting either read or sing the song Drippy the Hippie to help students learn the words precipitation, evaporation, and condensation.  Using the worksheet, discuss with children how water becomes clouds by evaporation.  Water can then be recycled in the process.     
  6. Bring the trays inside (or turn off the heat lamp) and let them cool for 10 minutes before students  record the temperatures.
  7. Discuss with students their results.   What color sand  heated faster?  Which one cooled the quickest? The slowest?  Where did soil fit into the picture?


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