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25 July 2014
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Ages 5 - 6 Ages 6 - 7 Ages 7 - 8
Ages 8 - 9 Ages 9 - 10 Ages 10 - 11

Science topics ages 8 - 9
Keeping warm

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Online lesson plan


Know that good thermal insulators keep cold objects cold and warm objects warm

Understand that metals are not good thermal insulators but wood and plastics are

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Science, Sc3 1b, 2c

Wales: Key Stage 2, Materials and their properties 1.2, 1.7

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Materials, Properties, a

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Materials from Earth Level B; Properties and uses of energy Level E

Resources required

Online activity from Science Clips website: Keeping warm

A hot drink and a thermometer

Teaching activities

Show the children a cup of hot coffee or tea. Ask them to guess the temperature of the liquid. Measure the temperature accurately with a thermometer. What would happen to the drink if we left it in a room for an hour? What would happen to the temperature? On an interactive whiteboard, bring up the online activity. Click to start the clock and watch what happens to the temperature of the hot water. Were their predictions correct?

Is there a way of keeping the drink warm or at least stopping it cooling down so quickly? Accept children’s ideas, which may include examples of flasks they have in their packed lunches. Tell the children that a material that stops heat loss is called a thermal insulator. Explain they are going to work on the online activity to see if they can find a material that is a good thermal insulator.

Arrange the children in pairs or groups, with a computer for each group. Ask children to work through the activity, following the tasks written (and spoken) at the top of the screen. They wrap the flask in different materials to see which prevents the water losing its heat and record results in a table.

Discuss what they found out from the activity. Which material was the best thermal insulator? Which was the worst? Was it better than having no insulating material? What type of material was a bad insulator (metal)? What type of material was a good insulator (plastic)? Think of an example of when we want to stop something warming up (e.g. an ice-lolly). Which material would be the best insulator to surround it with? Explain to the children that if a material is a good insulator it will stop an object losing heat (like the hot drink), or stop an object warming up (like an ice-lolly).


Ask children to plot the results from the table in the online activity as a line graph.

Suggested homework

Ask children to find materials in their houses that work as insulators, either stopping something losing heat or stopping something warming up.


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