Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students will apply their knowledge of types of heat transfer, conductors, insulators and colour to solve a problem.


Review the concepts from Lesson 3 - conductors, insulators and colours that absorb and reflect heat.

Read/show Letter 4 from apprentice chef Pierre – butter sauce

Explain to students that they will be using the knowledge they have gained over the previous thrree lessons to try to melt the butter for apprentice chef Pierre’s butter sauce.

Explain to students that they will be working in groups to plan and conduct the activity.


  1. Show students the equipment (see Materials and equipment list for Lesson 4) they have to choose from for the activity.
  2. Put students to groups and allow them to brainstorm some ideas about how they could melt the butter. Each group can then collect the equipment they will require.
  3. Inform students that there are two phases to the activity – the planning phase and the conducting phase – and that they must record their ideas and observations in their science journals over the duration of the activity.
  4. Advise students that the conducting phase will be completed outdoors (for sunlight/warmth and cleanliness purposes). Provide students with time to devise a plan to melt the butter (planning phase).
  5. Confer with each group before moving onto the conducting phase of the activity.
  6. Move the students to the allocated outdoor area with their required equipment and give each group one tablespoon of butter or margarine to melt.
  7. Provide sufficient time for the activity conferring with students on their progress.
  8. Move students together and discuss their results from the activity. Return to the classroom.


Discuss with students how they used their knowledge of heat and heat transfer to melt the butter.

Ask students to write a letter to apprentice chef Pierre, informing him how to melt the butter for his sauce without the use of an oven or stovetop.

Explain to students that during the unit so far, they have explored adding heat to ice and butter and that in the next lesson they are going to apply what they know about heat transfer and explore how to take heat away from objects.  

Lesson Resources


Student activities

Useful links

How to soften butter quickly, Simply recipes. Hint 

L956 Energy from the Sun, NDLRN. Learning object on solar cookers 
Teacher note: This learning object needs to be carried out collaboratively due to the year level it is aimed at (year 7) – it would be difficult for year 3 students to complete this task on an independent basis.

Melting points, Science kids, Learning object