Energy - Heat, Light, and Sound
If you go camping, you usually build a fire to sit around at night. You may make
Sʼmores, have hot chocolate and stay warm. Have you ever wondered why a marshmallow
cooks without touching the flame, why the smoke rises, or why water in a pan boils? Heat can
move from one object to another in three different ways: conduction, convection and radiation.
Conduction is the heat transfer through a substance or from a substance to another by
direct contact. Everything is made up of small particles. When the particles are moving faster,
there is more energy and the temperature is higher. As fast-moving particles touch slow-moving
particles, the energy is transferred. This causes slower particles to speed up
and the faster particles to slow down. You can demonstrate this
by rubbing your hands together very fast for 30 seconds. Now
touch them to your ears. Can you feel the heat transfer from
your hands to your ears? As your ears warm, your hands will
cool until the particles in each are moving at the same speed.
Science Benchmark: 06:06
Heat, light, and sound are all forms of energy. Heat can be transferred by radiation, conduction and con-
vection. Visible light can be produced, reflected, refracted, and separated into light of various colors. Sound is
created by vibration and cannot travel through a vacuum. Pitch is determined by the vibration rate of the sound
Students will understand properties and behavior of heat, light, and sound.
STUDENT BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Grade Benchmark Standard Page
06 : 06 06 13.1.1 06
A two-year-old has plenty of it, and the sun has a bunch of it. Do you know what it is? If
not, let me give you a definition. “A source of usable power.” By now most of you have prob-
ably guessed the answer. Itʼs energy. The sun definitely qualifies. What about a two-year-oldʼs
energy? Is it “a source of usable power” as the definition states? As you may know, two-year-
olds are usually bundles of energy, but their energy cannot be used by others.
This unit is going to discuss three types of energy: heat, light, and sound. As we discuss
them, be sure to watch for similarities as you learn some background on each. So, if youʼre
ready, here we go.
Another example of conduction is a pan on the stove. The stove is heated by gas or elec-
tricity. Then the pan gets hot. Substances that transfer heat better than others are
conductors. Can you think of other examples of conductors? Insulators are substances that do
not conduct heat easily. Glass, wood, plastic and rubber are all insulators. Pans have plastic or
wood handles to keep the pan from conducting heat to your hand and burning it. Can you think
of other examples of insulators?
Convection is the heat transfer in liquids and gases as
particles circulate in currents. This transfer of energy causes
warm substances to rise and cool o...