Special Science Teleclass: Thermodynamics

This is a recording of a recent live teleclass I did with thousands of kids from all over the world. I’ve included it here so you can participate and learn, too!

You’ll discover how to boil water at room temperature, heat up ice to freeze it, make a fire water balloon, and build a real working steam boat as you learn about heat energy. You’ll also learn about thermal energy, heat capacity, and the laws of thermodynamics.


  • cup of ice water
  • cup of room temperature water
  • cup of hot water (not scalding or boiling!)
  • tea light candle and lighter (with adult help)
  • balloon (not inflated)
  • syringe (without the needle)
  • block of foam
  • copper tubing (¼” diameter and 12” long)
  • bathtub or sink
  • scissors or razor
  • fat marker (to be used to wrap things around, not for writing)
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16 Responses to “Special Science Teleclass: Thermodynamics”
  1. Aurora says:

    Thanks for helping me fix that typo! With over 20,000 pages of material that I wrote, there’s bound to be a typo or two that I miss. We did have an official publishing/editing company proof it, but in the end, we’re still human and we occasionally miss one. Thanks for your eagle eye!

  2. Aurora says:

    You’re right – this is a more upper level class (one of the few, most aren’t quite like this). However, some kids really enjoy seeing what they will be learning about soon, like a sneak peek. There’s a lot packed into those intro webinar/teleclass lessons, so just start slow and enjoy the ones you’re interested in!

  3. Jenmariegr says:

    Wow.. I do not think this is geared towards 3rd graders! Too many concepts in an hour; he can’t even tell me the basics now. Also, I read the text to him and it says “Freezing point is the temperature at which a material changes from a liquid to a gas.” Is this a typo?

  4. Aurora says:

    I’ll have someone connect with you via email!

  5. kellydandjlee2002 says:

    We have the K-8 registration, how do we upgrade to be able to complete this experiment, we already have the supplies.

  6. crystal says:

    Oh no! I’ll have a member of my staff check in via email right away so we can get this corrected for you.

  7. cinfetty47 says:

    I paid for the K-8 curriculum, but I cannot access it. Help!?!?

  8. Leigh Edwards says:

    I really like this class so much!!!!!!

  9. Alicia MacRae says:

    The frozen waterfall is on the right to me.

  10. Melanie Williamson says:

    whoa, it is so weird to think nothing you touch is really cold or hot,(well it’s just what we call both kinds of heat flow ) . it just is sensors in your skin that read heat flow. Thanks
    Aurora I learned a lot.-Gabe

  11. Aurora says:

    It sounds like the thickness of the tubing was too big. What if you go down a size or two? You can try other materials, as long as they are metallic (because you’re heating it to hold steam), and flexible enough to bend. You can also use a tube bender to help keep the tube from collapsing (usually a handyman will have one of these, or a plumber… if you don’t want to buy one from the hardware store). πŸ™‚ Hope this helps!

  12. Megan Crowther says:

    Very interesting class. We learned a lot. Unfortunately, when we tried to make our steam boat, the copper tubing would not curve nicely around even a bottle, let alone a fat marker. Instead, it just bent so no water would have been able to go through it anymore. We’re wondering if there is an optional material that could be used instead of copper tubing? Perhaps this is because we are in Canada and it’s colder here? We tried heating it before we did it, but it still would not curve.

  13. Aurora says:

    You need to be logged in first. Try again?

  14. Michelle Gardner says:

    i cant seem to fid thee video:I

  15. Aurora says:

    It’s a recording from a live teleclass, which is usually about an hour long. You don’t have to do it all in one go, though.

  16. Michelle Hitt says:

    Why did you make the video so long?????????

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