This activity features calculations and rankings as well as student evaluations of their understanding. Instructions are provided on the document, which is ready for distribution to students. It was developed by Celestina A. Pangan and Madhu Gyawali.
Students explore material properties by applying some basic principles of heat transfer. They use calorimeters to determine the specific heat of three substances: aluminum, copper and another of their choice. Each substance is cooled in a freezer and then placed in the calorimeter. The temperature change of the water and the substance are used in heat transfer equations to determine the specific heat of each substance. The students compare their calculated values with tabulated data.