Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Phase Change

Lab Summary

Use a stainless steel temperature sensor to observe physical changes in a system undergoing a phase change.


  • Understand that adding thermal energy to a substance does not necessarily increase the substance’s temperature.
  • Explore the idea that the “internal energy” of a substance is the sum of the average kinetic energy (temperature) and potential energy of the molecules in that substance, where the potential energy is associated with the phase or state of matter in which that substance exists.
  • Understand that any transfer of heat during a phase change will produce only the phase change without changing the temperature of the substance.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Observing physical changes in a system undergoing a phase change.
  • Relating observations of a phase change to features of a graph.
  • Identifying and annotating important features of a Temperature versus Time graph.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Absolute Pressure/Temperature Sensor


Designed for ideal gas law allowing both absolute pressure and temperature measurement. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

PASPORT Stainless Steel Temperature Probe


Is a versatile probe with wide temperature range. For use with PASPORT and ScienceWorkshop Interfaces.

Materials Used:


Rod stand

Utility clamp ~ 2

Beaker 150 mL ~ 2

Test tube 20 mm x 150 mm

Ice cube

Ice, crushed ~ 120 g

Lauric acid ~ 8 g

Stirring rod

Water ~ 200 mL

The Associated Bundle:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

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