What's Hot? What's Not?by: Sandy Buczynski

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When Goldilocks finds three bowls of porridge at different temperatures in the three bears’ house, she accurately assess the situation and comes up with one of the most recognizable lines in children’s literature, “This porridge is too hot; this porridge is too cold; ahh, this porridge is just right!” Goldilocks’ famous line is a perfect lead-in for an inquiry with upper elementary students that explores the concept of heat energy as measured by temperature. In the investigation, students consider the variable that might account for temperature differences between each bear’s porridge.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
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Reviews (4)
  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:43 PM

How cool that such an in depth inquiry experiment can come from a children's book! It is a great way to integrate science and literature and is an interesting experiment that student's will likely be very engaged in. I think the article did a good job in describing the steps to the experiment and gave helpful teaching tips on how you could replicate it in your own classroom.

Brooke Stehle
Brooke Stehle

  • on Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:23 PM

The author presents a unique way of teaching students about the basics of thermodynamics. Using Goldilocks and the three bears is a fun way for students to interact with the basic concepts. I will be using this (and coming up with my own variations).

Steve  (St. Johns, FL)
Steve (St. Johns, FL)

  • on Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:06 AM

It is amazing how many different experiments you can devise just by reading a little bit of the classic Goldilocks story. This article gives lots of ways to experiment on the temperature of the porridge. Just think what else you could do with chairs and beds!!

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Sat Nov 06, 2010 3:16 PM

A guided inquiry using the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story begins with students using 'I heard, I know' techniques. Students use if, then statements to determine predictions for why porridge in three bowls would be 'too hot, too cold and just right' Each investigation included one manipulated variable to explore the effect of heat transfer in bowls of porridge. Safety precautions for heating water, using alcohol thermometers and not allowing students to consume porridge are noted. Students should practice reading thermometers before carrying out investigations.

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

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