How to Keep a Hot Drink Warm

How to Keep a Hot Drink Warm

Short description
Full description
Short description

How to Keep a Hot Drink Warm Challenge

Type of resource: Websites

Web address

Language: English


Investigating which materials work best in keeping a hot drink warm

Scientific concept introduced

Investigating materials: identifying good Insulators in heat energy transfer

Creative and critical thinking

Critical Thinking:


2. Prediction

3. Justification


Creative Thinking:

1. Imagining

2. Designing

3. Making

Mathematical reasoning

1. Sorting
2. Measuring

Scientific thinking

1. Questioning
2. Explaining
3. Justifying
4. Planning
5. Sorting and Comparing
6. Observing
7. Testing
8. Predicting
9. Analysing results
10. Drawing conclusions

Learning how to learn

1. Following guidelines
2. Active listening
3. Self-efficacy in learning
4. Fun in learning


1. Collaborative skills such as sharing and turn-taking
2. Literacy – vocabulary development
3. Oral language development
4. Drawing
5. Artistic skills
6. Cutting with scissors
7. Following rules of safety

Full description

How to Keep a Hot Drink Warm Challenge

Overall aims

• to enable pupils to investigate which materials work best as insulators
• to develop pupils’ skills in planning, designing and making (engineering skills)
• to develop pupils’ skills in listening and following guidelines
• to develop pupils’ skills in observing and predicting
• to develop pupils’ measuring skills
• to develop pupils’ expressive language skills
• to develop pupils’ creative thinking skills
• to develop pupils’ artistic skills

Vocabulary - keywords should be understood

Hot, cold, heat, warm, Insulator, materials, temperature, thermometer, tea, coffee, hot chocolate

Expected learning outcomes (operational aims)

The child will be enabled to:
• follow guidelines for the investigation
• name hot and cold objects
• identify the difference between hot and cold objects
• identify materials which are good insulators
• sort materials- identifying suitable materials for their design
• design and make a simple contraption to keep a hot drink warm
• make observations and predictions during the experiment
• create a picture using a variety of fabric and fibre

STEM skills - to which the learning unit is related to


• Questioning
• Explaining
• Justifying
• Imagining
• Planning
• Comparing
• Sorting
• Designing
• Making
• Measuring

• Observing
• Testing
• Predicting
• Analysing results
• Drawing conclusions


• Following guidelines
• Active listening
• Self-efficacy in learning
• Collaborative skills such as sharing and turn-taking
• Literacy – vocabulary development
• Oral language development
• Fun in learning
• Drawing
• Artistic skills
• Cutting with scissors
• Following rules of safety

Teaching methodologies/activity outline

1. Elicit pupils’ understanding of the terms ‘hot’ and ‘cold’.
2. Ask pupils to name hot and cold objects and record this on the board in two columns - Hot/Cold.
3. Ask pupils as a class to discuss their hot drinks.
Sample Questions: What’s your favourite hot drink? How do you make a hot drink? What happens when you add milk to tea or coffee? What would happen to a hot chocolate if you waited for a while before drinking it?
4. Explain to pupils that insulators are materials that are poor at letting heat energy pass through them, so they’re really good at keeping things warm. Inform them that they’re going to test different materials to see which materials are the best at keeping the tea warm, in other words - the best insulators.


(Divide the class into 4 groups)

Materials: (per group)
• Scissors

• Glue
• Tape
• Selection of materials for construction, for example:

- Aluminium foil

- Paper towels

- Cling film

- Cotton wool

- Bubble Wrap

- Newspapers

- Cloth

- Plastic cups

- Paper cups

- Ceramic cups

- Elastic bands

- String


1. Inform pupils that each group will be given the same amount of tea (about 150ml).
The challenge for the group is to make a design for how they plan to keep their tea warm. Encourage pupils to think about the following:
○ which type of cup they will use?
○ which materials they will use to wrap around the cup?
○ how will they wrap the materials around the cup?
2. Show pupils some of the materials gathered for the experiment and have a class discussion about what types of materials they think could be good for keeping the tea warm.
3. Give each group a sheet of paper, asking them to plan and draw their design. Ask them to explain the reasoning behind their design and discuss as a class.
4. Give pupils time to make their design, selecting their materials as required.
5. Then make a pot of tea, talking through the steps with the pupils - putting the tea bag into the pot, boiling the water, pouring the hot water, stirring the tea.
6. Leave the tea to cool a little so that it’s not too hot for the pupils and is just warm.
Inform pupils that we use a thermometer to measure how hot or cold something is.
Then take the temperature of the tea. Explain to pupils how we read the temperature on a thermometer.
7. Ask groups to bring their contraption to the top of the class and pour 150ml of tea into each container. Give pupils a chance to finish their design, for example, if they want to cover the top of their container with material.
8. Wait 45 minutes to an hour and then take the temperature of each groups’ cup of tea. Discuss the results as a class. Which materials worked best as insulators.


The Science behind insulators:
➔ Heat is a type of energy and it moves from a warmer object to a cooler object.
➔ Insulators are materials that are poor at letting heat energy pass through them, so they’re great at keeping things warm.
➔ Aluminium foil is a great insulator.

➔ Cotton wool and bubble wrap are also good insulators.
➔ Newspaper is also a good insulator. It’s really effective when it’s scrunched up because then it traps air too and trapped air is also a good insulator.


1. Ask pupils to create a collage of either a hot or cold object using various fabric and
fibre. Direct pupils to use warm tones for the hot objects and cool tones for the cool

Assessment of learning

Pupil observation sheet

Equipment and materials to be used in learning unit (tools, ingredients etc)

For pupils: (per group)
• Scissors

• Glue
• Tape
• Selection of materials for construction, for example:

- Aluminium foil

- Paper towels

- Cling film

- Cotton wool

- Bubble Wrap

- Newspapers

- Cloth

- Plastic cups

- Paper cups

- Ceramic cups

- Elastic bands

- String


For teacher:

• A thermometer
• A mug
• Tea bag
• Tea pot
• Spoon

Kind of setting

Kitchen or classroom with cooking facilities (i.e. hot stove)

References - source


How to Keep a Hot Drink Warm Challenge

1. Usefulness for STEM education - integrating content of different disciplines

Cross-curricular character of the resource 


The range of S-T-E-M subjects included 


The presentation of possibilities of including artistic activities (STEAM approach)


2. Expected learning outcomes

Consistency (links) with preschool core curriculum


Communicativeness of description


3. Methodology of teaching

Clarity, communicativeness of instructions for teachers


Meaningful learning - using practical life problems


Original idea 


The level of ease in implementing the methodology to preschool age children


The level of ease in preparing necessary ingredients, materials and equipment needed


4. Sustainability

Ecological characteristics of materials/ results


Supporting healthy eating habits 




Low ecological footprint


Possibilities of inclusion (respecting cultural diversity and food intolerances)


5. Class management

Using differentiated forms of work - individual, team work etc.


Individual work





Team work





Whole group



6. Time management


Short activity (10-15 minutes)




Medium activity (20-30 minutes)




Long activity (1 hour or more)




Very long activity (1 day or more)



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