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P1a 1.

3
Practical sheet

Teacher notes

Testing sheets of materials as insulators


Aims
1 To carry out fair tests to compare different insulation materials.
2 To consolidate previous work on cooling curves and graph plotting.
3 To reinforce understanding about the use of insulating materials.

Teaching notes
1 In Part 1, the temperature of hot water in several identical beakers is
measured every minute for at least 20 minutes. Each beaker should be
wrapped in a different insulation material.
a) Each group of students is to use a different beaker. The whole class need
to agree on how much hot water to have in each beaker. The hot water
could be supplied by the teacher using a kettle. A plastic cup could be
used to transfer water from the kettle to a plastic measuring cylinder. The
students should use the measuring cylinder to ensure there is the same
volume of hot water in each beaker. The starting temperature does not
need to be exactly the same for each beaker as comparisons can be
made using the graph. However, low-attaining students will probably find
the comparisons easier if the starting temperature is the same for each
beaker.
b) Each beaker should be fitted with a lid as heat loss due to evaporation of
water from the beakers will affect the results. Also, each beaker should be
on an insulating mat to reduce heat transfer through the base. Timing
could continue for more than ten minutes according to how much time is
available. Remind students to stir the water between measurements.
c) Each set of measurements should be plotted on a separate graph.
2 In Part 2, the graphs could be pinned on a board so students can discuss how
to compare the cooling rates either in terms of the time to cool from a certain
temperature to a lower temperature or in terms of the temperature change
from a certain temperature in a certain time. Each student can then fill in their
own comparison table and draw their own conclusions based on the graphs.

Teaching assistants
1 Low-attaining students will need assistance with the instructions in each part.
Remind the students how to use a stopwatch and how to measure the
temperature each minute. Remind them not to leave the thermometer (or the
measuring cylinder) lying near the edge of the bench and not to reach over the
equipment.
Increase the size of the work sheets (and graph paper) to A3 if necessary.
2 Ensure practical equipment is safely returned after it has been used.
3 Assist students to plot the measurements on graph paper if necessary.

AQA Science © Nelson Thornes Ltd 2006 P1a 1.3 1


P1a 1.3
Practical sheet

Continued …

Safety
1 Ensure students know not to clutter their working space for the practical work
with other items.
2 Remind students not to leave thermometers and measuring cylinders near to
the edge of the bench or table and not to reach over equipment.
3 Provide paper towels to mop up any spillage of water.
4 Take care with hot water.

AQA Science © Nelson Thornes Ltd 2006 P1a 1.3 2


P1a 1.3
Practical sheet

Continued …

Technician notes
Equipment
For each student (or group):
• Liquid-in-glass thermometer.
• Beaker or can, lid and insulation mat.
• Different insulation materials cut to size to fit round each beaker (e.g. thin felt,
paper, bubble wrap, thick felt, wool) plus rubber bands or Sellotape to keep
the material in place on the beaker.
• Stopwatch.
• Plastic cup.
• Plastic measuring cylinder with the capacity to measure the maximum volume
of water in beaker.
• Paper towels.
• Graph paper for each student.
For the whole class:
• Kettle to be used by the teacher to supply hot water.

Safety
1 Ensure students know not to clutter their working space for the practical work
with other items.
2 Remind students not to leave thermometers and measuring cylinders near to
the edge of the bench or table and not to reach over equipment.
3 Provide paper towels to mop up any spillage of water.
4 Take care with hot water.

AQA Science © Nelson Thornes Ltd 2006 P1a 1.3 3