Science Reasoning Center - Thermal Physics

There are two Thermal Physics passages that target students' science reasoning abilities. They are ...
Heating Curve
12 Questions
This passage describes the phase changes that occur in a sample of matter as it is heated from a temperature below its melting point to a temperature above its boiling point. In addition to the two paragraphs describing the state changes, a heating curve graph is included. Questions target a student's ability to use the model presented in the body of text to interpret the graph, to connect information in the body of text to the graph, and to compare various points on the graph to one another in terms of the state of matter that is present and the process (state change or temperature increase) that is occurring.
Linear Expansion of Materials
13 Questions
This passage describes in quantitative terms the linear expansion that materials undergo when heated. The passage includes an equation, a table of coefficients of expansion, and a graph. Questions target a student's ability to use an equation to make predictions, to draw conclusions that are consistent with a model, to select points on a graph, to combine data from a table and a graph in order to compare the expansion of a material under various circumstances, to extrapolate outside the range of values provided by a graph, and to combine data from a table and a graph to make predictions about the amount of expansion a given length of material would undergo.
On the Resource CD:
A Resource CD is being prepared to assist classroom teachers in using this section of the website more effectively within their classrooms. The Physics Classroom hopes to release the CD during the Fall semester of of 2014.

The Thermal Physics section of the CD will include four different passages, including these two passages. The passages are accompanied by questions, answers with thorough explanations, and a table that associates each question with a specific science reasoning skill (or college readiness standard). Each passage includes considerably more questions than those presented here in the Science Reasoning Center. In addition to PDF files, the information on the CD is also available as Microsoft Word files, allowing teachers the ability to pick and choose questions from the large bank of questions associated with each passage.

More information about the CD can be found at the Resource CD page.