I'm Freezing


This unit comprises 5 stations, which involve the students developing an awareness of the attributes of temperature The focus is on the development of language for describing temperature.

Achievement Objectives
GM1-1: Order and compare objects or events by length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), turn (angle), temperature, and time by direct comparison and/or counting whole numbers of units.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Describe objects as hot or cold.
  • Describe the day as hot or cold.
  • Compare the temperature of two objects.
  • Order a group of 2 or more objects by temperature.
Description of Mathematics

Early temperature experiences must develop an awareness of what temperature is, and of the range of words that can be used to discuss temperature. The use of words such as hot, cold, warm and freezing, focuses attention on the attribute of temperature. Students need to experience a variety of temperatures by touching warm and cold objects. They can also observe the effects of heating and cooling objects.

Discussing the daily temperature and the variation that can occur within a day extends students’ awareness of temperature. A daily weather chart where the students record their observations about the weather is a useful activity.

Comparing the temperatures of objects is the second stage in developing an understanding of temperature. Compare temperatures directly by touch in order to feel the change from one object to another. Students can begin by touching two objects and determining which is warmer. They can then move to comparing and ordering three or more objects.

They need also to experience the impact that heat has on an object. For example, butter melts when it is heated and ice-cream melts when it is taken out of the freezer.

In addition to ordering objects that they can touch, students need to discuss and observe features of hotter and colder days. They can then order pictures or photographs of hot and cold climates.

The stations may be taken as whole class activities or they may be set up as centres or stations for the students to use. We expect that most students will already be aware of the attribute of temperature. For them these may be useful maintenance activities.

Required Resource Materials
  • Cardboard strips
  • Crayons
  • Pegs
  • Ice cubes
  • Lids or saucers
  • Sunny beach scene
  • Paper for drawing
  • Chart paper (Hot spots & Cold spots)
  • A box of dressing up clothes

Station 1: I’m Freezing

In this activity we make our own temperature gauges to use to indicate whether we feel hot or cold.

  • Cardboard strips
  • Crayons
  • Pegs
  1. Ask the students to stand up if they feel cold. Discuss why they feel cold and how they decide whether they are cold.
    What other words do you use when you are cold? (chilly, freezing etc)
    What colours do you think are cold colours? (blue, white)
  2. Ask the students to stand who are feeling warm. Discuss why they are feeling warm.
    What other words do you use when you are warm? (hot, boiling, cooking etc)
    What colours do you think are warm colours? (red, orange)
  3. Show the students the strip of card that is coloured from blue to red. With the class decide on the words that you are going to write on the strip to describe the temperature.





  4. Get the students to make their own temperature chart.
  5. Give each students a peg to attach to their chart to indicate their temperature.
  6. During the day ask the students to check and if necessary change their temperature gauges.

Station Two: Hot and Cold Places

In this activity we use ice-cubes to investigate hot and cold places in the room.

  • Ice cubes
  • Lids or saucers
  1. Begin by asking the students to stand in the part of the room that they think is the hottest.
    Why do you think that is a hot place?
  2. Next ask the student to stand in the coldest part of the room?
    Why is that a cold place?
  3. Show the students a cube of ice. Discuss what happens when ice is taken out of the freezer.
  4. Give each pair of students 2 cubes of ice in lids or saucers. Ask them to put one in the place they think is the hottest and the other in the coldest.
  5. Leave one student watching the "hot" cube and the other watching the "cold" cube. When the cube is completely melted tell the students to put up their hand. Record on the board the students' names as their cubes melts.
    Whose cube was first to melt?
    Whose cube was last to melt?
  6. As a class list in order the hottest to the coldest areas in the room.

Station Three: Which is the hottest?

In this activity we order four containers of water from hot to cold.

  1. Show the students a container of water.
    Can you tell whether this is hot or cold water?
    Why? Why not?
  2. With the students seated in a circle pass a container of warm water around. As they feel the water ask them to think of a word to describe the water.
  3. Share descriptions.
  4. Put four containers of water of varying temperature at the front of the class. Tell the students that they are all safe to touch.
  5. Line the students up and let them feel the water temperature in each container. (You will need to either label the containers or use different coloured containers).
  6. Ask them to work out the order of the containers from hot to cold and then draw a record of this. 
  7. Share orders.
    How did you know which was hottest?
    How did you know which was the coldest?

Station Four: Hot Spots

In this activity we look at pictures of different places and put them in order from coldest to hottest.

  • Sunny beach scene
  • Set of pictures of scenes depicting a variety of climates
  • Chart paper (Hot spots & Cold spots)
  1. Show the students a picture of a sunny beach scene.
    What can you tell me about this picture?
    Can you tell whether it is hot or cold? What are your clues and experiences?
  2. Create a folder of images from the internet or photos from travel magazines that show landscapes in different climates, places like deserts, Antacrtica, jungle, beaches etc. Give each pair of students a set of images. Ask them to put them in order from the hottest to the coldest place and talk about what clues from the pictures helped them make their decisions. 
  3. As a class add the pictures to the chart labelled Hot Spots and Cold Spots
  4. Next ask the students to draw (or find in a magazine) another picture to attach to a "hot spots" and "cold spots" chart.

Station Five: Dressing-Up

In this activity we design clothing to match the pictures we are given.

  • A box of dressing up clothes
  • Paper for drawing
  • Set of pictures from station 4
  1. Show the students a box of dress-up clothes.
  2. Ask a volunteer to find the clothes that you could wear on a hot day.
  3. Discuss the choice.
  4. Ask a volunteer to find the clothes that you could wear on a cold day.
  5. Discuss the choice.
  6. Give each student a picture of a different scene. Ask them to decide whether it is a hot or cold place.
  7. Next ask the students to think about the type of clothes that a person should wear if they were to visit that place. Ask them to draw a picture of themselves dressed in the clothes.
  8. Display the drawings with the pictures.

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