Curricular Connections

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.

The game can help...

As students play the game, one of the greatest strategic challenges they will face is that they are able to transfer heat energy only from the warmer object to the colder object. This reflects the reality that, under natural circumstances, heat energy always moves from warmer to colder objects.

Heat Transfer Slideshow

Slides 5 and 6 explain that heat transfers from hotter objects to colder ones.

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What the Textbooks Say

Most middle-school textbooks begin their coverage of heat transfer with a discussion of temperature and how it relates to thermal energy, and cover a number of interrelated ideas.

  1. Temperature is a measure of kinetic (motion) energy: More kinetic energy = warmer, less kinetic energy = cooler.
  2. Thermal energy is the sum of all kinetic and potential energy in a substance.
  3. Heat is the thermal energy that flows from a warmer object to a cooler object.
  4. Heat flows only one way, from warmer to cooler objects.
  5. Net heat transfer ends when two objects reach the same temperature (“thermal equilibrium”).

Students may have the mistaken ideas that cold can flow into a warm object to cool it, or that both heat and cold transfer between objects at the same time.

 

See classroom activities related to Heat Transfer

The game can help...

During gameplay, students will have to transfer energy through three possible ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction occurs when two objects touch and heat is transferred from the warmer object to the cooler one. During convection, heat is transferred through the movement of liquids or gases. Radiation occurs when heat transfers through space by electromagnetic radiation.

Heat Transfer Slideshow

Slides 5 and 6 explain that conduction occurs when two objects touch and heat is transferred from the warmer object to the colder one. Slide 11 gives an example of conduction. Slides 7 and 8 explain that radiation occurs when heat transfers through space by electromagnetic radiation. Slide 12 gives an example of radiation. Slides 9 and 10 explain that in convection, heat is transferred through the movement of liquids or gases. Slide 13 gives an example of convection.

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What the Textbooks Say

Usually textbooks devote a page or two to explaining the three forms of heat transfer:

  1. Conduction—heat transferred directly by touch
  2. Convection—heat transferred in gasses and liquids when hot and cold fluids move from place to place
  3. Radiation—heat transferred by electromagnetic radiation (light)

Students who understand the three types of heat transfer still may believe that only one type can occur at a time.

See classroom activities related to Heat Transfer

The game can help...

One of the challenges students face is in understanding that heat transfer occurs from the warmer object to the cooler one, and stops when the two objects reach the same temperature. This reflects the condition that net heat transfer stops when thermal equilibrium is achieved. During thermal equilibrium, the two objects are the same temperature and transfer energy back and forth at the same rate, meaning that no temperature change occurs

Download slideshow PPT

What the Textbooks Say

Most texts explain thermal equilibrium as part of the discussion of thermal energy or of types of heat transfer. The main ideas are

  1. Heat energy moves only from warmer to cooler objects;
  2. Net heat transfer stops when the two objects reach the same temperature; and
  3. Heat energy is still being transferred between the two objects when thermal equilibrium is reached, even though the objects’ temperatures remain unchanged.

Sometimes students get the mistaken idea that an object can transfer all of its heat to another object.

See classroom activities related to Heat Transfer