Lesson 2: Molecules on the Move


Through direct observations and computer simulations students are introduced to the concept that heat is the transfer of thermal energy.

Key Ideas

Lesson Goals

Students will:

Lesson Resources

Lesson Plan

Download Lesson Plan (11 pages, 784 KB)

Student Handout 2.1: Molecules on the Move
(5.16 KB)

Tutorial for teachers: NSTA Science Objects: Energy: Thermal Energy, Heat, & Temperature
(Science Objects are listed under Publications and Products tab.)

Computer simulations of molecular movement:

Phases of Matter from the Miami Science Museum

Particles in Action from Harcourt School Publishers

Three States of Matterfrom Vision Learning

Online Extensions

Explore Physics Central "Physics in your Glass: Racing Molecules."

A description of the molecular motion of water in its various states and explains the differential movement of food coloring though warm and cold water. Included is a “Try this” section that encourages users to try the food coloring experiment with vegetable oil, adding soap, and adding salt.  

Learn how a thermometer works and find out how to build one.

Weather Wiz Kids: Temperature
Find out what temperature means and how it is measured.  Use the temperature conversion, wind chill, and heat index calculators. 

Connection to Maine Agencies

A Maine Energy Education Program (MEEP) representative and will come to interested schools, free of charge, to guide and support the concepts in lesson.

For schools in Aroostook County, a Maine Public Service (MPS) representative will come to interested schools, free of charge, to guide and support concepts developed in this lesson.

Contact us: info@powersleuth.org