Thermal energy is a type of kinetic energy which can be transferred from one object to another in the form of heat. In order to demonstrate this concept you only need two balloons, water, and a source of heat.
Keep in mind during this project that fire is dangerous and should only be used under close supervision and even then only with children who have been taught fire safety.
First fill one balloon with air and the other with water.
Ask the children what they think will happen when the balloons are heated up. Will the results for one balloon be different than the results for the other balloon?
Hold the balloon full of air over the fire source.
It pops! Why? Because the heat from the fire melted the rubber and caused the balloon to pop.
Now hold the balloon full of water over the fire source.
It doesn’t pop! Why? Because the heat from the fire spreads out through the water and rubber of the balloon does not heat up enough to melt and pop.
This post has been part of The ABCs of Raising Well-Rounded Geeklings series.
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