STEM Pre-K Learning: Explore Temperature with a Homemade ThermometerAug 10, 2023
By combining science, technology, engineering, and math through the creation of a homemade thermometer, early educators can foster a love for STEM in their pre-K students. This hands-on approach not only enhances children's understanding of temperature but also lays the foundation for critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
Science: Understanding Temperature
- Explore Temperature Concepts: Introduce children to the concept of temperature, explaining how it is a measure of hotness or coldness.
- Homemade Thermometer: Create a simple yet effective homemade thermometer to demonstrate temperature measurement.
- Liquids and Temperature: Engage kids in observing how different liquids expand and contract with changing temperatures.
- Temperature Scales and Real-world Connections: Show the relevance of temperature scales like Celsius and Fahrenheit in everyday life, from weather forecasts to cooking.
Technology: DIY Thermometer Construction
- Gather Materials: Collect everyday items like a plastic bottle, water, food coloring, straw, and modeling clay.
- Constructing the Thermometer: Step-by-step guide to assembling the homemade thermometer, involving cutting, filling, and sealing.
- Capillary Action and Thermometer Operation: Explain capillary action's role in liquid movement within the straw, enabling temperature measurement.
- Modern Temperature Sensors: Briefly touch on digital temperature sensors and their use in modern technology.
Engineering: Design, Build, and Refine
- Design Iterations: Encourage children to think like engineers by refining their thermometer's design for better accuracy.
- Material Selection for Sensitivity: Teach the importance of choosing materials based on their ability to respond to temperature changes.
- Liquid Choices and Performance: Conduct experiments using different liquids like water and alcohol to observe their impact on thermometer performance.
Math: Measurement and Interpretation
- Measurement and Calibration: Introduce basic measurement concepts as kids calibrate their thermometers against known temperature points.
- Reading Temperature Scales: Teach children how to read and interpret both Celsius and Fahrenheit scales on their homemade thermometer.
- Linear Relationships and Graphing: Guide pre-K learners in understanding the linear relationship between liquid level and temperature, and help them create simple graphs to visualize this connection.