Investigating Heat Transfer – Conduction and Insulation

Part of the "Solar Cooking" Collection


Students will observe heat conduction and insulation.

Estimated Time

20 Minutes

Setting Required



  • S3P1. Students will investigate how heat is produced and the effects of heating and cooling, and will understand a change in temperature indicates a change in heat.
    • a. Investigate how insulation affects heating and cooling.
    • b. Investigate the transfer of heat energy from the sun to various materials.


  • Pair of gloves (1 per small group)
  • Folded paper (1 per small group)
  • Cloth (1 per small group)
  • Metal baking sheet warmed in the sun (1 per small group)


  1. Model for students how to carefully touch the warm baking sheet that has been sitting in the sun with their unprotected hand then with gloves, folded paper, and a cloth. Recognize with students that the heat is conducted from one object to another when they touch.
  2. Challenge students to consider ways insulation is used to keep heat from being transferred by conduction.