Thermometers, again

Thermometers work by magic, or may as well, given the  way we use them in class.

Lorin King, released under CC 3.0

We focus on how to read them, then how to convert one reading to the other. If a child barely has a grasp on Fahrenheit, it's really too much to ask her to convert to Celsius, not matter how much more sense it might make. Kelvin is just Celsius with a degree in pedantics.

A child can observe the triple point of water, at least two parts of it. (Water vapor is invisible--the fog you see is condensed water--droplets of liquid.) A child can tell when water is boiling.

Give a child a thermometer without numbers, without lines. Let her figure out why calibration matters. Otherwise a thermometer is just another talisman in a republic that cannot survive magical thinking.

The worksheet made by Lorin King, released under CC 3.0

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