August 5, 2013

Observing Conduction - Weather for Kids

Science for Kids - Conduction

Weather science for kids - observing conduction

Welcome to Science Fun for Kids week brought to you by Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Coffee Cups and Crayons and Inspiration Laboratories.  I am thrilled to be teaming up with these wonderful ladies to bring you a week of science experiments for kids.  The theme for today is weather.  Each of us did an experiment to teach children about weather.  Here at Learn Play Imagine we focused on conduction.  JZ (6) and I had so much fun making convection currents the other day that we decided to do an experiment to learn about conduction.

How to Demonstrate Conduction

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Directions:  Fill the cup about 2/3 full with water.  Light the candle then use the tongs to hold the cup close to the candle without letting it touch.  *Please note I held the tongs with the cup over the flame.  Before lighting the candle I had JZ do a test to see if he could hold up the cup of water with the tongs.  He wasn't comfortable holding it.  As always, use caution with young children around candles.

It's not relevant to the experiment, but I had to share that J-Bug (4) felt the need to stand close by with a hose, "Just in case."

Before long I had to find another candle.  It was a little windy outside, and the flame kept getting blown out.  This bigger candle had been burned before, so the wick sat lower and was a bit protected from the wind.

Weather science for kids - observing conduction

JZ was afraid to get close.  He was certain that the whole cup would catch on fire at any moment.  I encouraged him to touch the water every couple of minutes to see how it was heating up.  Of course, I always tested the water first to be sure it wouldn't burn him.

Weather science for kids - observing conduction

After a good five minutes, or maybe even longer, the water started to boil, producing steam.  You can see how closely I held the cup over the flame.

Weather science for kids - observing conduction

JZ was the first to see the steam, and he was in shock that the cup wasn't on fire.  Molecules were moving rapidly, and heat was being transferred.  Conduction took place right before our eyes. The paper cup heated by the flame conducts heat from the air to the water.  As a result, the paper stays cool. The temperature at which water boils is lower than the temperature at which paper catches on fire or ignites!  This demonstration is really amazing.

Weather science for kids - observing conduction

What does this have to do with weather?  When the surface of the earth warms up, heat is transferred from the earth to the air just above it through the process of conduction. As the air warms, it may become unstable, causing wind and clouds to form.

 For more weather experiments for kids follow me on Pinterest.

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Weather science for kids - observing conduction

Be sure to visit my co-hosts to see their weather experiments.

How to Make a Cloud in a Bottle from Coffee Cups and Crayons

Make a Hurricane from Inspirations Laboratories

Exploring the Effects of Hot and Cold Air from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

More weather science for kids:


  1. Great demo! I love how they're anticipating the cup catching fire.

  2. This is a great science activity! And I love the photo of your little one with the hose! Too cute!

  3. You can do the same thing with a plastic bottle of water. I will not melt and will heat up the water :)

  4. You can also do this with a balloon. Just put a bit of water in it...

  5. I'm using some of your experiments for an upcoming science class. What makes this experiment an example of conduction and not convection? I'm trying to keep the two straight, but I think I'm getting confused :)


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