Can be used in an electrical thematic unit or when studying heat and thermal energy.
The lab activity should follow a discussion of heat or electrical resistance.
Team students, 2/team
Directions: each team needs 3 different "diameters" of electrical wire - I use thin diameter wire from old, broken appliances. Wrap one of the wires around the bottom of a thermometer making sure to leave about 10-12 cm free on each end. The thermometer bulb should be completely wrapped.
Complete the circuit by connecting the ends of the wire to the + and - poles of the D cell battery. Time the rise in temperature about every 10 seconds and until the temperature stops rising. After completing this with the 3 different wires students can construct a graph of the data. Discussion questions should follow
Caution: very thin wire can generate enough heat to make touching the wire to the battery poles uncomfortable - students may need a strip of electrical tape to use as an insulator.