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Infant Incubator Lesson 8

How can we produce heat?

Student Sheet 

Teacher Answers 

Estimated class Time:

Two 40-minute class periods


How can we produce heat?


  • Hot pack; one per group 
  • Cold pack; one per group
  • Thermometer; one per group
  • Ruler; one per group
  • Metric Balance; one per group

Lesson Level Learning Objectives:

  • MS-PS1-2: Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. 


  • Students explore hot and cold packs as a way to investigate endothermic and exothermic reactions.  Students make connections to the results of previous experiments. Students examine the manner in which thermometers operate and measure kinetic energy. The lesson concludes with students reviewing the relationship between kinetic energy and endothermic/exothermic reactions.

What we Figured Out: 

  • The cold pack is an endothermic solution. Crystals dissolved in a clear liquid (water) and became a milky color. 
  • The hot pack (hand warmer) is an exothermic reaction.  When air is added to the iron, it releases heat. 
  • Further validates that the incubator needs to utilize an exothermic reaction.

Questions we still have:

  • Why do the packs stop being hot or cold? 
  • What are the chemicals that cause one to get hot while the other gets cold?
  • What happens if the reaction does not happen in a bag?
  • Where did the chemicals go?
  • Do the amounts of the chemicals in the packs matter?
  • How can we produce enough heat to keep the correct temperature?
  • What chemicals could we use?
  • What type of containers will we use?

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