Heat Transfer

Digital Game Top Blurb: 

Galactic Gloop Zoo is a 60-level puzzle/strategy game that addresses a common misconception about the directionality of heat transfer—that, for example, a drink cools because ice transfers its “coldness” to the drink, rather than because the drink loses its heat to the ice. The player assumes the role of a zookeeper in an intergalactic zoo filled with strange animals from many planets. Newly discovered creatures are about to go on display, but the eggs haven’t hatched yet. The player must warm or cool them, as needed, in order to hatch them in time.

But players can’t access the eggs directly, and must use helper gloops to relay heat to the eggs. These blob-like creatures can transfer heat to each other through conduction, convection, and radiation, depending on their type, the environment, and their proximity to each other. Players use the gloops to create a Rube Goldberg-like sequence of heat-transfer events that results in the eggs warming or cooling enough to hatch and reveal the exotic animals inside.


This game, Galactic Gloop Zoo, is designed to address a common misconception among students—that cold moves through space along with heat. Ordinary language supports this idea through such expressions as, “Don’t let the cold in.” The game also addresses the difference between heat and temperature.

The mechanics of the Galactic Gloop Zoo game provide a model for the transfer of heat via radiation, convection, and conduction. The player has to bring enough heat to a set of fertilized eggs in a variety of different environments to cause them to hatch various types of creatures and populate a zoo in outer space.

The game’s rules are a close match to the mechanisms of heat transfer, in that the interaction between the player’s avatar, Stan the zookeeper, and the various heat-carrying creatures causes more heat to flow to areas of less heat until either the interaction stops or the two parts have arrived at the same level of heat. Temperature is a measure of that heat, and reading temperature indicators (an optional feature) is a more efficient way to play the game than is relying on distinguishing the degree of color saturation, which is also an analogy for heat level. The various environments in the zoo represent the different ways in which heat can be transferred, and appear as different types of challenges in the game, which has many levels of difficulty.

Galactic Gloop Zoo can be used with subtopics associated with heat transfer, such as the direction of transfer, thermal equilibrium, and insulators. Explanations and support materials for these are available in the Curricular Connections page.


Tab Topics: 
Field collection item ID Edit Delete
56 Edit Delete
57 Edit Delete
58 Edit Delete
Resource Downloads: 
Field collection item ID Edit Delete
61 Edit Delete
63 Edit Delete
65 Edit Delete
67 Edit Delete
69 Edit Delete
70 Edit Delete
77 Edit Delete
79 Edit Delete
81 Edit Delete
Home Page Image: 
Home Page Weight: 
Overview Page Image: 
Digital Game Page Image: 
Digital Game Name: 
Galactic Gloop Zoo
Activities Page Text: 

The activities and resources provided here represent materials developed by the Possible Worlds and Analogy Mapping Study teams to help teacher-participants of the field studies integrate the digital games into their customary teaching of heat transfer.

Curricular Overview: 

The vignettes and materials presented here will help you understand how the Possible Worlds resources can be integrated with your existing approach to these topics. They are intended to help you make connections between the core mechanics of the games and the phenomena related to common scientific misconceptions.

Classroom Game Overview: 

In this activity, students become editors at NoWay!com, a website that publishes amazing-but-true stories. Two stories being considered for publication include claims about heat energy. Students must evaluate the validity of the claims by looking for relevant evidence in the informational resources provided. Based on what they find, they decide whether or not the site should publish the stories.

No Way Tabs: 
Tab Topic: 
Body Content: 
<p><img style="float: left; margin-left: 12px; margin-right: 12px; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;" src="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/NoWay_Logo_DD.png" alt="No Way! Logo" width="174" height="47" align="left" hspace="12" />This classroom activity, a central feature of our modules, offers a fun way for students to develop the critical thinking and science literacy skills emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards—skills they’ll need in order to become critical consumers of scientific information and reporting. Moving away from the fantasy worlds of the video games, <em><strong>No Way!</strong></em> draws students into a compelling real-life scenario in which they are editorial interns at a science-themed website—<em><strong>NoWay!com</strong></em>.</p> <table class="table_rt" width="276" align="right"> <tbody> <tr> <td><img src="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/no-way-students.png" alt="" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="caption"><strong>After evaluating the claims in a story, students decide whether the site should publish it.</strong></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>The site publishes amazing-but-true stories about incredible natural phenomena, weird inventions, and sensational events. As part of the editorial team, students must investigate claims in articles being considered for publication on the site. The articles connect to the module’s content and focus on the misconception addressed in the video game. Playing No Way! gives students a chance to practice crucial argumentation skills while also deepening their understanding of the module’s topic.</p> <p>The articles students evaluate were written specifically for No Way! Each contains several claims that need to be checked. The rule is that finding counterevidence for any claim means the story can’t be posted. The activity involves: a) looking for information relevant to a claim by referring to a set of reliable resources we provide; and b) determining whether the information they find constitutes evidence for or against the claim. While students will find evidence to corroborate most claims, the game keeps them focused on the search for counterevidence that invalidates a claim.</p> <p>It takes 2–3 classes to complete the activity. Sessions end with students sharing what they’ve discovered and voting on whether a particular story should be published.</p>
Tab Topic: 
Body Content: 
<table class="table_rt" width="170" align="right"> <tbody> <tr> <td><img src="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/snowman-desert.png" alt="" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="caption">Students investigate the claims made in this story about transporting a snowman to the desert.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>In this activity, students are tasked with investigating an article and an ad that contain claims about heat energy, heat flow, and insulation. As with the related video game (<strong><em>Galactic Gloop Zoo</em></strong>), this activity provides an opportunity to help students understand how heat is transferred through conduction, convection, and radiation, and that heat moves from warmer to cooler substances.</p> <p>After viewing the introductory slideshow, students turn their attention to “A Snowman in the Desert.” It’s the story of two young men who say that they transported a snowman from the mountains of Japan to the hot desert country of Bahrain, a journey of 5,000 miles. Their goal was to present it to children who had never seen snow, while also proving the effectiveness of vacuum insulation panels.</p> <table class="table_rt" width="195" align="left"> <tbody> <tr> <td><img src="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/heat-energy.png" alt="" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="caption">One of the resources students use to investigate claims about heat energy.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>The four claims in the story have to do with heat transfer and insulation. Working in small groups, students look for and record information relevant to the claims by going through a set of resources provided. Then they decide if the information constitutes evidence for or against each claim.</p> <p>There is plenty of information in the resources to support the four claims, and none that serves as counterevidence that would invalidate any of the claims. If, based on their research, students decide that NoWay!com can post this article, they won’t be in danger of publishing something that contains a false science claim.</p> <p>The advertisement being considered for NoWay!com is for a popsicle-maker called Zippy Pop! The students’ task is to determine if the infomercial-type ad is making any false claims about the product and how it works. To do that, they turn to the resources and look for relevant information that pertains to each claim in the ad. Then they must decide whether the evidence supports or disproves the claim.</p> <table class="table_rt" width="242" align="right"> <tbody> <tr> <td><img src="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/zippy-pop.png" alt="" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="caption">Based on their evaluation of the ad’s claims, students decide whether the site should carry it.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Students can find evidence to support three of the ad’s claims. But one claim in the ad reflects a misconception shared by many students about the directionality of heat flow—that “coldness” flows from a cold object into a warmer one, causing it to cool. In the resources, they can find accurate information about the directionality of heat flow that serves as counterevidence to that claim. The product could never work as advertised.</p> <p>Since <strong>NoWay!com’s</strong> policy is to never use anything that contains a false claim, students will be making a wise and informed decision if they recommend that the site not carry the Zippy Pop! ad.</p> <p>[Note: If this is the students’ first experience with <strong>No Way!</strong>, they should learn about the game’s premise and rules by viewing the <strong>Day 1 PowerPoint</strong>. It includes a guide to the claim-checking process they’ll be using as they go through the activity.]</p>
Tab Topic: 
Materials & Instructions
Body Content: 
<p>We suggest spending three class periods on this activity. These are the materials you’ll need each day:</p> <h2><br />DAY 1</h2> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/document%20-%20Heat%20Transfer%20No%20Way%21%20Day%201%20Instructions_FINAL.pdf" target="blank">No Way! Activity: Heat Transfer</a>&nbsp;DAY 1 Instructions</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/Mod4_NoWay_Day1PPT_FINAL_22414.pptx" target="blank">DAY 1 Slideshow</a>&nbsp;(to show to the class)</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/SnowmanStoryFINAL10-23.pdf" target="blank">“A Snowman in the Desert” Article</a>&nbsp;(one copy per student)</p> <h2><br />HOMEWORK for DAY 2</h2> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/Snowman_FindingClaims.pdf" target="blank">Snowman Story: Finding Claims Worksheets</a><br />(one set per student)</p> <h2><br />DAY 2</h2> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/document%20-%20Heat%20Transfer%20No%20Way%21%20Day%202%20Instructions_FINAL.pdf" target="blank">No Way! Activity: Heat Transfer</a>&nbsp;DAY 2 Instructions</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/Mod4_NoWay_Day2PPT_FINAL_NewVO_060914.pptx" target="blank">DAY 2 Slideshow</a>&nbsp;(to show to the class)</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/Snowman_Story_Resources.pdf" target="blank">Snowman Story Resources</a><br />(one set for each group of four students)</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/Snowman_CheckingClaims.pdf" target="blank">Snowman Story: Checking Claims Worksheets</a><br /> (two sets for each group of four students)</p> <h2><br />HOMEWORK for DAY 3</h2> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/ZippyPop%20FINAL.pdf" target="blank">“Zippy Pop!” Ad</a>&nbsp;(one copy per student)</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/ZippyPop_FindingClaims.pdf" target="blank">Zippy Pop! Ad: Finding Claims Worksheets</a><br />(one set per student)</p> <h2><br />DAY 3</h2> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/document%20-%20Heat%20Transfer%20No%20Way%21%20Day%203%20Instructions_FINAL.pdf" target="blank">No Way! Activity: Heat Transfer</a>&nbsp;DAY 3 Instructions</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/Mod4_NoWay_Day3PPT_NewVO_060914.pptx" target="blank">DAY 3 Slideshow</a>&nbsp;(to show to the class)</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/ZippyPop_Ad_Resources.pdf" target="blank">Zippy Pop! Ad&nbsp;Resources</a><br />(one set for each group of four students)</p> <p><a class="link-pdf" href="/sites/possibleworlds.edc.org/files/ZippyPop_CheckingClaims.pdf" target="blank">Zippy Pop! Ad:&nbsp;Checking Claims Worksheets</a><br /> (two sets for each group of four students) </p>
Tab Topic: 
NGSS Connections
Body Content: 
<h2>Connections to the Next Generation Science Standards</h2> <p>The <em><strong>No Way!</strong></em> critical thinking activity connects to <em>Practice 7: Engaging in Argument from Evidence</em>. It offers students opportunities to evaluate and critique scientifically based arguments in the media, an ability emphasized in the NGSS description of Practice 7: “The scientist and the citizen alike must make evaluative judgments about the validity of science-related media reports and their implications for people’s own lives and society. Becoming a critical consumer of science is fostered by opportunities to use critique and evaluation to judge the merits of any scientifically based argument.”</p> <p><em><strong>No Way!</strong></em> directly addresses two specific goals of <em>Practice 7: Engaging in Argument from Evidence</em>:</p> <ul> <li><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Identify possible weaknesses in scientific arguments, appropriate to the students’ level of knowledge, and discuss them using reasoning and evidence<br /><br /></span></li> <li><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Recognize that the major features of scientific arguments are claims, data, and reasons and distinguish these elements in examples</span></li> </ul> <h2>Connection to the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects</h2> <p><em>No Way!</em> connects to <em>CCR Reading Anchor #8</em>, which emphasizes evaluating the validity of arguments and whether the evidence offered backs up the claims logically. ( <em>CCR Reading Anchor #8</em>: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.)</p>
Classroom Game Title: 
Critical Thinking Activity: No Way!