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Infant Incubator Lesson 12

How does thermal equilibrium impact incubators?

Student Sheet 

Teacher Answers 

Estimated class Time:

One 40-minute class period


How does thermal equilibrium impact incubators?


  • Internet access
  • OPTIONAL: headphones, black blocks, ice, fan, headphones


Lesson Level Learning Objectives:

  • MS-PS3-5: Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.


  • Use the website to define convection, conduction, thermal equilibrium, and radiation.

What we Figured Out: 

  • Thermal Equilibrium -  When thermal energy moves from a hot area to a cooler area until it is the same temperature.
  • Conduction - Heat transfer through direct contact.  A pot on a stovetop, touching something hot
  • Radiation - Heat transfer through empty space. Sunlight, heat from a fire or light bulb.
  • Convection - Heat transfer in a fluid (liquid or gas), changes in density cause a circular pattern in the fluid  (air, water, Earth’s mantle, etc)
  • Students begin to figure out that they will want heat to be transferred to the baby and that they will not want heat leaving (being conducted away from) the incubator.

Questions we still have:

  • Can we control where heat travels?
  • How can we control how heat moves?


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