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In this activity, students use thermometers inside water-filled soda bottles to investigate how dark and light colours affect heat absorption.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • use a thermometer correctly
  • explain the difference between temperature and heat
  • explain that darker coloured objects are good absorbers of light energy and heat up faster than lighter coloured objects, which are poorer absorbers of light energy
  • decide whether it is better to wear a black T-shirt or a white T-shirt on a hot sunny day.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • discussion questions
  • student handout.
    Published 10 June 2008, Updated 8 June 2014