Taunton schools discuss specific heat capacity

On 21 November visiting teachers from four schools in Taunton met at King’s College to perform and discuss required GCSE practical work. The teachers, from The Heathfield Community School, Taunton Academy, Wellington School and King’s College Taunton looked at the specific heat capacity of aluminium, sand and water; and the transfer of thermal energy by radiation.

The two and a half hour session raised some interesting points:

  • The specific heat capacity experiment can be made more accurate via various techniques: insulation, timing continuously to allow for thermal conduction time lag, measuring the highest temperature reached after the heater is switched off, etc. Is this wise? Or are we making a tricky practical very hard for Year 10 pupils to follow?
  • On infra-red (brought to the meeting by one of the younger delegates): Why does the front-facing camera on a mobile phone not detect the IR from a TV remote, but the back-facing camera (for selfies!) detects it perfectly well?


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