Students use the term ‘temperature’ less frequently than ‘heat’ when talking about thermal phenomena

Energy and Thermal Physics


By age 8-9, many have developed an idea that temperature is related to levels or degrees of heat and know that a thermometer is used to measure this.

Resources to Address This

  • Warming things up (11-14)

    Ref - SPT En05 PN01

    All of these three aspects of warming up are linked and all happen together.

    • The temperature of the warmed object rises.
    • The associated thermal store of energy fills a little.
    • More energy is shared amongst the particles in the object being warmed, and they move around more.


    View Resource


  • Thomas, M. F.; Malaquias, I. M.; Valente, M. C. and Antunes, M. J. () An attempt to overcome alternative conceptions related to heat and temperature. Physics Education, 30 (1)


    Review sheet

  • M. Louisa, F. C. S. Veiga, D. J. V. Costa Pereira and R. Maskill () Teachers' language and pupils' ideas in science lessons: Can teachers avoid reinforcing wrong ideas? International Journal of Science Education, 11 (4)


    Review sheet

  • Paik, S. H., Cho, B. K. and Go Y. M. () Korean 4- to 11-Year-Old Student Conceptions of Heat and Temperature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44 (2) Published online in Wiley Interscience (,


    Review sheet

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