Middle School Earth Science Teacher Guide


Features 13 core activities covering the fundamental topics of weather & climate, seismology & topography, soil properties and more.

Water's Role in the Climate

Lab Summary

Use a conductivity sensor to classify substances based on their ability to dissolve in water and measure the changes in the conductivity of water as substances dissolve in it.


In this activity, students investigate how water and land act together to stabilize temperatures. They collect data using two temperature sensors, then compare and organize their information in simple tables or graphs to identify relationships the temperature patterns reveal.

  • Students investigate and observe how temperature changes near bodies of water while:
  • Understanding that oceans have a major effect on climate because water in the oceans can absorb a large amount of heat
  • Realizing the effects of oceans and lakes on land
  • Understanding that energy is transferred in many ways
  • Making explanations and predictions from evidence and drawing logical conclusions
  • Gaining skills and confidence in using a scientific measurement tool—the temperature sensor—as well as the spreadsheet and graphing capability of a computer to represent and analyze data


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Setting up the equipment and work area to measure temperature changes in two different containers of sand
  • Measuring the change in temperature over a ten minute period in a container of sand only and a container of sand and salt water, both placed in the sun

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Chemistry Sensor


Allows students to measure Temperature, pH/ISE/ORP, Absolute Pressure & Voltage in one sensor. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Middle School Earth Science Starter Bundle


The equipment bundle for teaching 11 of the 13 Middle School Earth Science Teacher Guide's labs.

Option 2:

Middle School Science Standard Sensor Bundle


This bundle contains the probeware needed to perform all 49 lab activities in the Middle School Science through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.