Want to learn how to make a homemade thermometer for kids? This DIY thermometer is an AWESOME science activity for kids of all ages! Create your own thermometer from a few simple materials, and test the indoor and outdoor temperature of your home or classroom for simple chemistry!
HOW TO MAKE A THERMOMETER
SIMPLE SCIENCE PROJECT
Get ready to add this simple science project, to your science lesson plans this season. If you want to learn how to make a homemade thermometer, let’s dig in. While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun winter science experiments for kids.
A thermometer shows the temperature when liquid inside it moves up or down on a scale. Explore how a thermometer works when you make a homemade thermometer for this project.
Our science activities and experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
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HOW TO MAKE A THERMOMETER
YOU WILL NEED:
- Mason jar with straw lid
- Clear straw
- Playdough or modeling clay
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cooking oil (any kind)\
- Red food coloring
THERMOMETER SET UP
STEP 1: Add red food coloring, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup alcohol and a tablespoon of oil into a mason jar and mix.
STEP 2: Stick the straw through the straw hole and tighten the lid onto the jar.
STEP 3: Mold a piece of playdough on the lid around the straw, which will hold the straw about 1/2” from the bottom of the jar.
STEP 4: Place your DIY thermometer outside in the cold or in the fridge and inside the house and look at the difference in how high the liquid rises in the straw in different temperatures.
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HOW DOES A THERMOMETER WORK
Many commercial thermometers contain alcohol because alcohol has a low freezing point. As the temperature of the alcohol increases, it expands and causes the level within the thermometer to rise.
The level of the alcohol corresponds to the printed lines/numbers on a thermometer indicating the temperature. Our homemade version does a similar thing.
However with your homemade thermometer you aren’t actually measuring temperature, just seeing temperature changes.
If you have a real thermometer, you can use it to make a scale on your homemade thermometer: let your bottle get to room temperature and then mark the straw with what the actual room temperature is.
Then set the bottle in the sun or in the snow and do the same. Mark several different temperature levels and then watch your thermometer for a day and see how accurate it is.
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MAKE A HOMEMADE THERMOMETER FOR KIDS
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