1. Introduce the lesson by discussing with the students the temperature outside on the day you do this lesson. If they know that it’s “hot,” or “cold,” do they know how hot or how cold? How do they know that?
2. Divide students into four groups, and, using the websites listed below, assign each group the following task:
- Group 1 – research the Fahrenheit scale
- Group 2 – research Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit
- Group 3 – research the Celsius scale
- Group 4 – research Anders Celsius
Each student in all groups should read the short article, "Fahrenheit and Celsius Left Their Marks," below.
3. Ask students to take notes on their research so that they can share their information with the rest of the class.
4. When the research is complete, each group should report its findings: Groups 1 and 3 should use the actual (or model) thermometers you provide to explain the two scales; Groups 2 and 4 should describe the lives of the two scientists, comparing and contrasting their lives and discoveries.
5. As a concluding activity, have each group measure the temperature of a bowl of water with a Fahrenheit thermometer and with a Celsius thermometer; make sure the water in the four bowls is of significantly different temperatures.
Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit and Celsius Left Their Marks
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.