Conduction, Convection, & Radiation: Cooking Dogs…Hot Dogs

pork-69429__480I teach with Whole Brain Teaching when I can think of something. I have a few chants for conduction, convection & radiation: “Conduction is Touching’. Conduction is Touching’.” We say that while clasping one hand with another to show direct touch or contact. For convection heat transfer, have students make circles with their hands and say, “Conduction is heat transfer through liquid or gas in a circular motion.” Last, for radiation heat transfer make waves and say, “Radiation is heat transfer through electromagnetic waves.” We do that EVERY SINGLE CLASS at least once. The actions and words together help students’ brains make extra connections and REMEMBER.

After I have already taught my 6th graders about conduction, convection, and radiation heat transfer, we cook dogs. I joke with my kids that I thought about cooking raccoons but they are hard to find. I could have cooked, Ringo, my cat, but I kind of like him….and that would be really quite messy. So, I went with dogs…hot dogs. (Note – some of my students don’t eat pork, so buy beef dogs.) Unless a parent wants to buy buns per child, skip the extra expense.

The final lab I teach for this part of the unit is Cooking Dogs…I Mean Hot Dogs. This lab is incredibly engaging and REALLY solidifies heat transfer. Each student ends up eating 1/3 of a hot dog cooked by convection, conduction and radiation. Before the students know how we are cooking “dogs,” I have them brainstorm a myriad of ways this can be done. They are sooooo creative! One student told the class that he could use convection heat to hop in a sauna in his towel while wrapping his hot dog also in a mini towel to cook it. The steam would cook them both! Yep, creative juices will flow. Don’t forget the ketchup!

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