Solar4Scholars: Geothermal Experiment

Here's an experiment that will have to be done over time, but it will give you interesting information about geothermal energy.

What you will need.

Instructions:

  1. Use duct tape or a tight rubber band to attach the thermometer to the end of your pole.
  2. Go to a dock or a lakeshore where there is a water depth of three feet or more. Sink the thermometer (attached to the pole) into the mud for a period of at least a minute. Remove. 3. Measure the temperature and record it.
    • Record the average air temperature for the time of year and note the difference between the two temperatures.
    • Every three months (or every two months, if you wish), go to the same spot and repeat steps 2-4. If the water freezes over during winter, have an adult with you as you break a hole in the ice (be safe!) to obtain your mid-winter temperature readings.

    Note: it does not matter what time of year you begin your experiment, as long as you record temperatures over a full year.

    What you will learn

    Compare the temperature changes:

    • How much change was there in the average air temperature?
    • How much in the recorded temperature from the water bottom?

    What does the experiment show about the usefulness of geothermal energy?

    Bonus question: what animals use this form of energy as part of their annual cycle?

    Note: this is technically not exactly the same as geothermal, but what works for water is an indication of what works for earth.

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