Chemicals and materials which change colour are fun and useful. In this activity you will handle thermochromic materials.
Facts about thermochromic materials and their usefulness, you can also demonstrate this if you can get your hands on: thermochromic film, smart putty, heat-sensitive spoons and rubber ducks, forehead thermometers.
This activity was demonstrated by the RSC at the Big Bang Fair 2014, and is a featured resource in our autumn 2015 ‘Get colourful with chemistry’ theme.
If you teach primary science, see the headings below to find out how to use this resource:
Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:
- Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.
- Selecting and planning the most appropriate ways to answer questions, including:
- Researching using a wide range of secondary sources of information.
- Compare and group together everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including thermal conductivity.
- Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials.
Children will learn:
- That a change in temperature can have an effect on a material or object.
- That the properties of a material will affect its suitability for different purposes.
Suggested activity use
This activity can be used as an interesting hook to engage children with the idea that a change in temperature can have an effect on a material or object. This nicely leads on to looking at changes of state and what happens to solids, liquids and gases at different temperatures.
Alternatively, you could use the thermochromic materials to stimulate discussion about where they could be useful in everyday life. Children could then research where they are actually used and create fact files about this, creating a cross-curricular link with Literacy.
A range of thermochromic products will be required to carry out the activity.