Carolina® First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics Kit

Carolina® First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics Kit

SKU: 753720NC

Place a hot beverage outside on a cold day. Soon, the beverage cools to the temperature of the surrounding air. The colder the air, the faster the cooling seems to occur. Likewise, a cold beverage taken outside on a hot day warms to the ambient temperature. What determines how heat is transferred between objects and how quickly the transfer happens? What can that simple phenomenon tell us about energy transfer in general and about more complex systems that use heat to perform work? In this investigation, students explore the driving question, “What factors affect the rate of transfer of thermal energy?”


Time Requirement

Total, 150 minutes. Teacher prep, 30 minutes. Pre-lab, 30 minutes. Each investigative period, about 90 minutes.


Learning Objectives


  • Monitor or analyze the change in temperature of 2 samples of matter under various conditions.
  • Perform graphical analysis of data related to the transfer of thermal energy.
  • Explain what the experimental results indicate about factors that affect heat transfer.


Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Students should have an understanding of the definition of energy and the relationship between thermal energy and temperature. They should also be familiar with the kinetic theory of matter, the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and with the 3 methods of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation.