Phase transitions are everyday occurring phenomena, but students often find them difficult to comprehend, not least in terms of the principles of thermal physics. To be able to explain phase transitions in primary school, teachers need to understand various concepts and phenomena, such as condensation, evaporation, energy, and temperature. As energy is absorbed or released during phase transitions, changes in temperature can occur. Infrared (IR) cameras can thus be utilized to visually observe and explore surface phenomena such as condensation and evaporation. In line with the resources framework, we have designed a teaching sequence which involves both everyday experiences and observations through IR cameras, and which is designed to encourage students to leverage common resources associated with evaporation and condensation. In testing our teaching sequence, we presented three thermal phenomena to a group of pre-service teacher students. Two of these phenomena, namely, walking out of a shower and sitting in a sauna, were anchored in embodied experiences to hopefully activate the students' resources and to make the students pay attention to the thermally relevant aspects. The third phenomenon was less familiar, involving the condensation of water on a piece of paper. The result shows that the students managed to carry out the sequence with the three phenomena and applied an explanatory model across all three to consistently explain evaporation. However, the lack of a more general model of chemical bonding and an overreliance on the second law of thermodynamics seem to have acted as barriers for the students' forming of a coherent understanding of both evaporation and condensation.

1.
G.
Kress
and
T.
van Leeuwen
, “
Colour as a semiotic mode: Notes for a grammar of colour
,”
Vis. Commun.
1
,
343
368
(
2002
).
2.
J.
Haglund
,
F.
Jeppsson
,
E.
Melander
,
A.-M.
Pendrill
, and
C.
Xie
, “
Infrared cameras in science education
,”
Infrared Phys. Technol.
75
,
150
152
(
2016
).
3.
M.
Vollmer
,
K.-P.
Möllmann
,
F.
Pinno
, and
D.
Karstädt
, “
There is more to see than eyes can detect
,”
Phys. Teach.
39
,
371
376
(
2001
).
4.
C.
Xie
, “
Visualizing chemistry with infrared imaging
,”
J. Chem. Educ.
88
,
881
885
(
2011
).
5.
J.
Airey
, “
Social semiotics in higher education: Examples from teaching and learning in undergraduate physics
,” in
SACF Singapore-Sweden Excellence Seminars
(
Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research in Higher Education (STINT)
,
Singapore
,
2015
).
6.
C. R.
Samuelsson
,
M.
Elmgren
, and
J.
Haglund
, “
Hot vision: Affordances of infrared cameras in investigating thermal phenomena
,”
Des. Learn.
11
,
1
15
(
2019
).
7.
B. W.
Dreyfus
,
B. D.
Geller
,
D. E.
Meltzer
, and
V.
Sawtelle
, “
Resource letter TTSM-1: Teaching thermodynamics and statistical mechanics in introductory physics, chemistry, and biology
,”
Am. J. Phys.
83
,
5
21
(
2015
).
8.
K.
Bain
,
A.
Moon
,
M. R.
Mack
, and
M. H.
Towns
, “
A review of research on the teaching and learning of thermodynamics at the university level
,”
Chem. Educ. Res. Pract.
320
,
320
335
(
2014
).
9.
M. E.
Loverude
,
C. H.
Kautz
, and
P. R. L.
Heron
, “
Student understanding of the first law of thermodynamics: Relating work to the adiabatic compression of an ideal gas
,”
Am. J. Phys.
70
,
137
148
(
2002
).
10.
Reference 9, p.
146
.
11.
V.
Barker
and
R.
Millar
, “
Students' reasoning about chemical reactions: What changes occur during a context-based post-16 chemistry course?
,”
Int. J. Sci. Educ.
21
,
645
665
(
2000
).
12.
H. K.
Boo
, “
Students' understandings of chemical bonds and the energetics of chemical reactions
,”
J. Res. Sci. Teach.
35
,
569
581
(
1998
).
13.
B. W.
Dreyfus
,
V.
Sawtelle
,
C.
Turpen
,
J.
Gouvea
, and
E. F.
Redish
, “
Students' reasoning about ‘high-energy bonds’ and ATP: A vision of interdisciplinary education
,”
Phys. Rev. Spec. Top. - Phys. Educ. Res.
10
,
010115
(
2014
).
14.
H.
Gopal
,
J.
Kleinsmidt
,
J.
Case
, and
P.
Musonge
, “
An investigation of tertiary students' understanding of evaporation, condensation and vapour pressure
,”
Int. J. Sci. Educ.
26
,
1597
1620
(
2004
).
15.
J.-Y.
Chang
, “
Teachers college students' conceptions about evaporation, condensation, and boiling
,”
Sci. Educ.
83
,
511
526
(
1999
).
16.
G.
Posner
,
K.
Strike
,
P.
Hewson
, and
W.
Gertzog
, “
Accommodation of a scientific conception: Toward a theory of conceptual change
,”
Sci. Educ.
66
,
211
227
(
1982
).
17.
D.
Hammer
, “
Student resources for learning introductory physics
,”
Am. J. Phys.
68
,
S52
S59
(
2000
).
18.
E. F.
Redish
, “
A theoretical framework for physics education research: Modeling student thinking
,”
Proc. Int. Sch. Phys. ‘Enrico Fermi’ Course CLVI Res. Phys. Educ.
(
2004
), pp.
1
56
.
19.
Reference 25, p.
29
.
20.
J.
Clement
,
D.
Brown
, and
A.
Zietsman
, “
Not all preconceptions are misconceptions: Finding ‘anchoring conceptions’ for grounding instruction on students' intuitions
,”
Int. J. Sci. Educ.
11
,
554
565
(
1989
).
21.
Swedish National Agency for Education, Curriculum for compulsory school, preschool class and school-age educare (
2011
).
22.
R.
White
and
R.
Gunstone
,
Probing Understanding
(
Falmer Press
,
London
,
1992
).
23.
E.
Etkina
, “
Millikan award lecture: Students of physics—Listeners, observers, or collaborative participants in physics scientific practices?
,”
Am. J. Phys.
83
,
669
679
(
2015
).
24.
T.
Vesala
, “
Phase transitions in Finnish sauna
,” in
Nucleation and Atmospheric Aerosols. Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Nucleation and Atmospheric Aerosols
, edited by
M.
Kulmala
and
P. E.
Wagner
(
Pergamon
,
Helsinki
,
1996
), pp.
403
406
.
25.
E. F.
Redish
,
Teaching Physics: With the Physics Suite
(
John Wiley & Sons
,
Hoboken, NJ
,
2003
).
AAPT members receive access to the American Journal of Physics and The Physics Teacher as a member benefit. To learn more about this member benefit and becoming an AAPT member, visit the Joining AAPT page.