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children running in a game

Children playing a running game: a heat project

Friction makes things hot

You can easily make things hotter than they were before. Start by rubbing your hands together, and you’ll see that they feel hot. That’s because the energy you used up moving your hands against the friction of them touching each other turns into heat energy.

What is friction?
Another friction project
What is heat?
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Sunshine makes things hot

Another way to make things hotter is to put them out in the sun. Try putting a pan of cold water out in the sun on a warm day, for instance.

What is sunshine?

Molecules and heat

Your class can show how molecules get farther apart when they get more energy: first stand still close together on the playground, and then start jumping up and down and thrashing around. After a while, somebody yell, STOP! You will see that you are much farther apart (and much warmer) than you were when you were standing still.

What are molecules?

Food coloring and heat

Another way to see this is to fill one clear glass or plastic bowl with cold water and another one with hot water. Add a drop of food coloring to each bowl.

What is water made of?

Because the molecules of water in the hot bowl are moving faster, they will spread the food coloring faster than the water in the cold bowl (Thanks to CalTech for these two ideas).

Did this heat project work well for you? Let us know in the comments!

Find out more about heat
More chemistry projects

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