Engage: Are You Sure about Temperature?

Find an object made of metal and an object made of paper that have been stored in the same location. Using your sense of touch, how do the temperatures of the metal object and the paper object compare?


Record your observations in your science notebook.

Explore: Match Point Metal?

View the video and learn how other people compared the temperatures of metal and paper objects. When the video reaches 1:58, pause and make your own prediction about the ice cube investigation before viewing the conclusion.

Veritasium (Designer). (2012.) Misconceptions About Temperature. [Video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqDbMEdLiCs

Did the people in the video agree or disagree with you about the temperature comparison? Were you surprised by the melting ice cube investigation? Discuss your initial observations, prediction, and reaction with a partner.

Explain: Can Humans Really Feel Temperature?

In the first video, we learned that temperature and thermal conductivity are related, but different, physical properties. Review the questions on the video questionnaire, and then use the video to answer them in your science notebook.

Video Questionnaire

  1. The Minute Physics narrator says that “when we touch something, we don't feel its temperature but rather. . .how much and how quickly it transfers thermal energy.” Thermal energy, when being transferred, is known as—
  2. The Minute Physics narrator says “If you touch a piece of metal and a book that have been sitting in your fridge, the metal will feel much colder than the book.” How would the temperatures of the metal and book compare if both objects were sitting in a warming oven instead?
  3. The Minute Physics narrator explains that metal feels colder than paper because metal is a conductor and paper is an insulator. If metal is a good conductor, why does the heat transfer from your hand to the metal in this example and not from the metal to your hand?
Minute Physics (Designer). (2013.) Can Humans Really Feel Temperature? [Video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXT012us9ng

Video Questionnaire Key

Check your answers to the video questionnaire.

[Note: The interactive activity below is best viewed with Internet Explorer 9, Chrome 29, or Mozilla Firefox 5.0 and higher.]

To retake the quiz, reload the page and then select "No" when the "Resume Quiz" dialog box appears.

Elaborate: You’re the Expert

Try the ice cube experiment with your own audience.
  1. Find a metal spoon and a plastic spoon that have been stored in the same location overnight.
  2. Ask friends or family to compare the temperatures of the two spoons.
  3. Ask them to make a prediction about which type of spoon will make ice melt faster.
  4. Grab a couple of ice cubes and test their predictions.
  5. Explain why their predictions were proved or disproved using what you’ve learned.

Evaluate: Concept Check

Check your understanding using the interactive quiz.


[Note: The interactive activity below is best viewed with Internet Explorer 9, Chrome 29, or Mozilla Firefox 5.0 and higher.]

To retake the quiz, reload the page and then select "No" when the "Resume Quiz" dialog box appears.

Teacher Notes

This resource is a curated collection of interactives, videos, or other digital media assembled in a conceptually scaffolded 5E lesson format. It provides alternative or additional tier-one learning options for students learning about heat transfer, Chemistry TEKS (11)(B). The assignments require student participation with self-checked and teacher-checked formative assessment opportunities. For example, after students record observations and data in their notebooks, they may be prompted to be prepared to share their answers with the class.

Check for prerequisite knowledge, differentiation needs, and student follow-up requirements (as necessary) by reviewing the resource before assigning it to or working through it with your students.

Critical Vocabulary
thermal conductivity
thermal energy

Resource Map


How to Use this Resource
This resource can be used for instruction in a variety of ways.

  • Use with a single computer and projector; this can be delivered in a traditional classroom.
  • Use with a combination of individual student computers and teacher computer and projector (in either a computer lab or other 1:1 environment).
  • Assign the resource to students as work to do outside of the school day as part of a flipped classroom to allow application, practice, and additional support during the school day.
  • Use with students as tutorials.
  • Share with parents to inform them about what their child is learning in school.
  • Use with students who are unable to participate in the traditional classroom environment.