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.


  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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