Developing a Model of Thermal Energy, Atoms, and Molecules

Dye in Water
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Intended Grade Level(s):
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Students will develop a model through collaborative inquiry to explain thermal kinetic energy and predict the outcome when heat is added to a substance.

  2. Students will build argumentation from evidence skills through collaborative sense-making and gallery walk presentations.

  3. Students will develop a model of atomic and molecular structures.


Lesson Number:
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours

Through a series of exploration and inquiry activities, students will explain kinetic molecular theory, atomic, and molecular structures. Students will be challenged to gradually increase the precision of their explanation of molecular-level structures and motion. This lesson facilitates in the students’ development of an evidence-based argument through collaboration. 

Other Material(s) Used:
Index cards, plastic pipettes, plastic cups, food coloring, hot plate, beam balance, glass beaker, tongs, graduated cylinder, thermometer, 9 volt battery, magnifier