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.

Opportunities for Adaptation and Differentiation

The learning opportunities in this unit can be differentiated by providing or removing support to students and by varying the task requirements. Ways to differentiate include:

  • providing students with example pictures of hot and cold things, rather than expecting them to draw their own
  • reducing or extending the number of categories students use on their scale (just "warm or cold" is easier than "freezing, cold, warm, or hot")
  • encouraging students to work in pairs or small groups.

The activities in this unit can be adapted to make them more interesting by adding contexts that are familiar to them. You may have students that come from a part of the world (or a part of New Zealand) that is particularly cold or hot. Have them describe to the class what it is like. It is possible that you have students that have never encountered snow, or students that have never been to the beach. 

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: That's freezing

In this activity we make our own temperature gauges to use to indicate whether things are 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 a 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 student a peg to attach to their chart to indicate their temperature.
  6. Discuss other things that might be cold (icecream, fridge, winter, the ocean, etc.), and other things that might be hot (a cup of tea, the oven, a wheat bag, the road on a hot day.
  7. Call out a few examples and ask students to place their peg on the appropriate place on their chart. If you can have an ice pack or some ice cubes and a heated up wheat bag or hot water bottle as examples, this would be helpful.
  8. Students could choose one example and draw a picture for a class display "... is hot.", or "... is cold."

Station Two: Hot and cold places

In this activity we use ice-cubes to investigate hot and cold places in the room. You may want to place a heater in one corner of the room to make the results of this experiment more obvious. If easily accessible you may want to use the staff room fridge as an example of a cold place.

  • 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, Antarctica, 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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Level One