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Solar Convection


Source Institutions

    Lawrence Hall of Science

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Solar Convection

In this activity, learners add food coloring to hot and cold water in order to see how fluids at different temperatures move around in convection currents. When the colored hot and cold liquid are both poured into the same container, learners will observe that the hot water sits on top, while the cold water sinks to the bottom. Step-by-step instructions with photos are included along with safety recommendations. Activity guide includes a "What's going on?" explanation about density and connections to the convection process in the Sun.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Type:
Activity

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


  • loaf pan-sized glass or clear
  • plastic container
  • blue food coloring
  • red food coloring
  • access to tap water
  • two drinking cups of equal size
  • handful of ice cubes
  • two spoons
  • strainer

Subjects


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat Transfer

Audience


Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Source Collection:

  • DIY Science Apps

Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX10AE05G

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