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STEM Unraveled - The Science of Heat

Summertime is finally here! That means it’s time to embrace the warmth and find fun ways to keep cool! What is your favorite way to beat the heat?

Our sun is so powerful! Today we’re going to learn about heat and how the sun’s energy makes temperates rise all the way here on Earth! First, let’s understand the definition of heat. Heat is the transfer and flow of energy and temperature from one object to another. Heat flows from hot objects to cool objects through the transfer of molecules. As something heats up, the molecules begin to move faster and faster, making the temperature rise.

The three ways heat is transferred are through convection, conduction, and radiation. Convection is the transfer of heat through a gas or liquid. An example would be when you boil water in a kettle on a stove, the stove releases heat molecules through gas and the gas travels to the water kettle, carrying the heat molecules and heating up the pot. Now that the kettle is becoming hot, it transfers the heat molecules to the water and the molecules in the water are moving fast as the temperature of the water gets hotter!

When you pour the water into a mug, the heat from the water transfers to the mug, making the mug hot. This is because the water and mug are in contact with each other - this is called conduction. While conduction is the flow of heat between two objects in contact, radiation is the flow of heat between objects that are not in contact with each other. Like the Sun!

Radiation takes the energy from the sun and transfers the heat to us through heat waves. The Sun is so strong that even from 94 million miles away, we can feel its energy on our skin on a hot and sunny day!

Can you think of examples you might have noticed today of how heat transfers between objects? Leave a comment sharing your example!

In our next STEM Unraveled, we’ll be learning all about Sharks! You won’t want to miss this one!


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