The image is of four cups of tea and tea leaves.

The Science of Tea: Reviewing Energy Transfer

This activity is a review of concepts related to energy transfer while making and drinking tea.

Students learn about the transfer of energy through conduction, convection, and radiation.  This interactive activity reviews these concepts while students make and drink tea.  It should therefore be completed soon after these terms have been taught. 


(These definitions are examples. Have students use the definitions that come from your text if applicable.)



  1.  Radiation:

Safety note:  Radiation should be discussed with one student at a time while the other students are at their desks.

  2.  Conduction

  3.  Convection:  


a cup of tea on an outdoor table
A cup of tea on an outdoor table


This activity has been written (including the definitions) for an elementary or early middle school class.  If it were utilized with a high school class, the related definitions should be at an appropriate level for the class.

NGSS Standards

4th Grade 

4th Grade- PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

Middle School

PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

PS3.C: Relationship Between Energy and Forces

PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

High School

PS3.A: Definitions of Energy

PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer


By Laura Hospitál

collage of the science of tea

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