Heat of an Unknown Metal

Heat of an Unknown Metal

Course(s)/Subject(s):Investigating Matter and Energy

Grade Level(s):8

Key Words:specific heat, calorimeter

Developer(s) Name:Elizabeth C. Tyrrell

School:Washington Irving Middle School

File Name:sETi99

Attached Files:LostandFound.
Approximate Time Frame:120 minutes (3 - 45 minute class periods)

Materials/Equipment Needed:Copy of lab for each student; computer with ClarisWorks 5.0; lab equipment as listed on the lab "Lost and Found"

Description of Lesson (includes context):This lab can be found in the Glencoe Laboratory Manualon pages 45-48. It has been rewritten in FCPS lab format and adapted to incorporate technology. In the lab "Lost and Found," the students will make a calorimeter to determine the specific heat of an unknown metal. Standard laboratory equipment will be used as well as a calculator based laboratory (CBL). Once the students have done some calculations with their data, they will create a spreadsheet using ClarisWorks and enter their data and their classmates' data. Directions on how to create the spreadsheet have been included in the lab instructions. (These instructions were taken from a FCPS document "Introduction to Spreadsheets" by Wanda Walters.)Upon calculating the average specific heat of the unknown, students refer to a chart of specific heats in their text, Glencoe Physical Science, to identify the unknown. To complete the lab, students will write a comprehensive conclusion. This lesson should be used in the second quarter when the topic is investigating matter and temperature. It will be particularlyeffective if used as an extension lesson for GT students after the lab "Heat on the Move."


  1. What is the objective of this lesson?

FCPS POS Standards:1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

FCPS POS Benchmarks:8.1.1; 8.2.1; 8.3.1; 8.3.3; 8.4.3; 8.4.4; 8.5.2.

FCPS POS Indicators: 8.1.1-6; 8.2.1-3; 8.2.1-5; 8.3.1-1; 8.3.1-3; 8.3.3-1; 8.4.3-2; 8.4.4-1; 8.4.4-3; 8.4.4-4; 8.5.2-1; 8.5.2-4.

VA SOL(s) (including Computer/Technology):PS.1; PS.2; C/T8.1.



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  1. What will we examine as evidence of students' knowledge and/or skill?

Product(s):The students will produce a completed spreadsheet of class data and a
comprehensive conclusion.

Performance(s):The lab will be successfully completed; the specific heat of an unknown will be determined; a CBL will be used to determine the thermal energy lost or gained; a spreadsheet will be constructed using ClarisWorks; a characteristic property is used to identify unknown.



  1. What exactly will the students and teacher do during the lesson?

Directions to students for proceeding with the lesson:

Follow the step by step instructions as outlined in the lab "Lost and Found."

Directions to teacher/administrator using the lesson?

  1. Photocopy lab for each student.
  2. Set up equipment for lab groups of 2.
  3. Prepare a boiling water bath.
  4. Remind students of safety precautions.
  5. Make texts available.


  1. What options in presentation(s) and/or response(s) are suggested in order to provide the opportunity for all students to demonstrate achievement of the benchmark(s) and indicator(s)?

Since this lesson is specifically designed for GT students, probably no accommodations or
modifications will be necessary. However, OCD students may need more time to work on
spreadsheets and should be paired with particularly strong classmates for the lab portion of
the lesson.

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