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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 and background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • discussion questions
    • student handout.

    Related content

    The article Heat energy explains three ways that heat energy is transferred.

    The interactive Temperature – the hot and the cold and the image Temperatures scales compared may be helpful to refer to for discussion on the measurement scale.

    More activity ideas

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

    In Making a solar oven, students learn about using the Sun’s energy to meet our needs – cooking food and heating water. After learning about solar heat energy, students can construct and use a solar oven.

    Using solar energy encourages students to explore the transformation of the Sun’s energy into heat energy through several experiments.

      Published 10 June 2008, Updated 10 November 2020 Referencing Hub articles