Heating & Cooling Of Earth's Surface (Part 2/2)

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SWBAT compare how different materials heat up and cool down at different rates and explain how that has implications for life on Earth.

Big Idea

All the surfaces on Earth absorb some of the Sun's energy and give off heat to the air as they cool - but they do it a different rates. At what rates will different materials heat up and cool down?

Graph the Data

20 minutes

Graph The Data 

This is Day #2 of the inquiry Heating & Cooling Of The Earth's Surface. In this part of the lesson, students make a line graph using the data collected from Day #1 of the Lab-Heating & Cooling of Earth's Surface.

When making a graph, students (MP#4) model with mathematics as they apply math to solve problems and analyze relationships mathematically to draw conclusions. Students should (MP#6) attend to precision when plotting data on a line graph.

Since my students are still learning about making a graph, I walk them through the process so they can understand the x-axis and y-axis and how to label each axis with a title so that the data is meaningful.

I provide Graph Paper for my students. This graph paper has larger squares which makes it visually easier for Special Education students to complete. Optional: You can also use regular graph paper and show students where/how to place the x-axis and y-axis. 

Temperature Patterns

15 minutes

Temperature Patterns

The learning outcome is for students to understand that Earth has a variety of temperature patterns that affect life. Heating and cooling can be connected to Earth's biomes. There are places on Earth where there is a lot of water, and places where there is a lot of sand (dirt, pebbles). The presence of water or sand (dirt, pebbles) affects the climate in each of these areas. Standards that support this outcome include (CCC #1) patterns which can be used to identify these cause and effect relationships. Students should find patterns in the data collected when creating their graph. As the Earth heats up and cools down, students recognize that (CCC#2) cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems (heating & cooling of Earth).

Additionally, students (SP#4) use graphs to display and analyze data , (SP#6) construct an explanation for the data collected from this (SP#2) model, and (SP#8) obtain, evaluate, and communicate information gained from this inquiry. The inquiry set up represents a model (SP#2) of the Earth (Earth materials). A line graph is a model (SP#2) of the data collected.

After constructing a line graph, students analyze the data to look for temperature patterns (CCC#1). Students should make a connection between temperature patterns of the data collected and temperature patterns of biomes (ie- desert, tundra, forest) on Earth. I ask students to identify cause and effect (CCC#2) relationships in the data collected. 

Students Talking About Temperature Patterns


5 minutes


I learned that  . . .because . . .

Now, let's write a conclusion. As with any experiment, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but that ok. This provides opportunity to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and changes that could be made to the experiment. This step is very important for students to "come full circle."

In order for students to (SP#6) construct an explanation, I have learned that you need to take students back to the question so they can think about the process "At what rate will different materials heat up and cool down?" Take 1-2 minutes for students to process this question and write a conclusion. I give them a sentence starter to add rigor to their writing and help with the process, for example:  I learned that . . .because. . .  Take 1-2 minutes to share answers with the class so students can hear other student thoughts. Some appropriate conclusions include:

I learned that some materials have different temperatures when they heat up or cool down because some materials retain heat while others don't.

I learned that sand heats up and cools down faster than water because of its properties.