Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Learning About Temperature Is Cool!

Cindy Jacobs


Students estimate and compare temperature using degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit. They create mini temperature posters and answer questions about temperature.


The student knows temperature scales and uses thermometers.


-Mercury Free Thermometers with Celsius and Fahrenheit scales (6 should be enough)
-Markers or crayons
-Chart paper


1. Gather materials needed for the lesson (see procedures).
2. Write questions on chart paper in advance.
3. It would be helpful if you would make a model of the mini temperature poster as a guide.
4. Thermometers need to be placed in various school locations in advance. As a courtesy, you may wish to notify other school personnel before placing.


1. Tell students that weather forecasters on television give us reports on the weather including the temperature. Hold up a thermometer. Ask why is it important to know the temperature? (to know how to dress appropriately, field trips, traveling, picnics, etc.). Discuss the thermometer and how it measures temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Demonstrate how temperature is measured in degrees by explaining how the thermometer is read.

2. Ask students: If I were to tell you the temperature is 35 degrees, what important bit of information am I leaving out? ( the type scale being used Celsius or Fahrenheit)

3. Ask students if they know what is the average body temperature. If not, explain that it is 98 degrees Fahrenheit and 37 degrees on a Celsius thermometer. Ask them which sounds more familiar to them? (Fahrenheit should be more familiar). Discuss that the Fahrenheit scale is more commonly used for weather reports, measuring whether or not one has a fever, home thermostats, etc.

4.Write the following on the chalkboard:
Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Celsius.
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 degrees Celsius.
Warm weather is 94 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 degrees Celsius.
Room temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 20 degrees Celsius.

5. Discuss the information written on the chalkboard. Have students compare the Fahrenheit scale to the Celsius scale. Students should observe that Celsius scale displays a lesser number than the Fahrenheit scale.

6. Pass out paper. Instruct students to fold their paper into fourths. Demonstrate this for them. Tell them they are going to make a mini temperature poster. In one section, have them write Water Boils at the top and the temperature at which water boils in Fahrenheit and Celsius at the bottom of this section. Have them continue with the temperature at which water freezes, warm weather, and room temperature. After each section is labeled, students will draw a picture to illustrate each section. For example, students could draw a polar bear ice skating for the section that lists the temperature at which water freezes. They could draw a pot boiling to illustrate the temperature at which water boils, etc. Allow them time to complete this activity.

7. While students are diligently working, divide them into groups of 5 to 6 students. Send a group at a time to one of the following suggested locations to get a reading on thermometers that were placed there in advance: media center, lunchroom, classroom, safe outside location, art room (or any other place of your choosing).They will need to record their findings on a sheet of paper or a teacher-made record form. Their findings need to include the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.

8. When students return, discuss their findings. You may wish to make a chart on the chalkboard consisting of the temperature and the location. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences among findings.

7. Next, present the questions below on a sheet of chart paper. Have students answer them on the back of their mini posters. They may refer to their posters to help them figure out the answers.

1. Is 28 degrees Celsius warmer or cooler than 16 degrees Celsius? (warmer)
2. Is 40 degrees Fahrenheit warmer or cooler than 80 degrees Fahrenheit? (cooler)
2. Would 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Fahrenheit be the most sensible temperature for swimming? (80 degrees F)
3. Would 15 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Fahrenheit be most sensible for shoveling snow? (15 Degrees F)
4. Children are swimming in a pool. The air is 95 degrees. Would this temperature be measured in Fahrenheit or Celsius? (Fahrenheit)
5. The children are planting flowers outside. It is 20 degrees. Would it be 20 degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius? (Celsius)
6. It is a good day for working in the yard pulling weeds. It is 28 degrees. Would it be 28 degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius? (Celsius)
7. A cup of hot chocolate would be nice. The liquid is 160 degrees. Would it be degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius? (Fahrenheit)
8. The classroom is a comfortable temperature. Would it most likely be 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 70 degrees Celsius? (Fahrenheit)
9. You are sick and you have a fever. Your temperature is 100 degrees. Would it be measured in Fahrenheit or Celsius? (Fahrenheit)
10. Your family is raking leaves. It is 10 degrees. Would it be Fahrenheit or Celsius? (Celsius)

8. Review this lesson. Collect mini posters and answers for assessment purposes.


Mastery or nonmastery will be based on how many questions regarding temperature are answered correctly. Students should get 8 out of 10 questions correct. Assessment will also be based on teacher observation regarding students' abilities to correctly read the temperatures at various locations within the school environment.


Students will continue monitoring temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit for a period of time (teacher discretion) in the same locations as mentioned in procedure #7.
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