A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story (1983)


Concept featured in film: Metals and Heat Transfer

Location of clip: 0:16:01 - 0:18:11 (DVD)

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: On the schoolyard one of the school kids is "double dog dared" to touch his tongue to the flagpole. He does and gets it stuck. All of the school kids leave him there in fear of getting in trouble, and return to the classroom where his teacher is confused about what happened to the now missing student.

Connection of flick to concept: Metals are a great conductor of thermal energy because of the characteristics of the bonds between the atoms. When a warm wet tongue is placed upon a very cold metal the coldness of the metal is immediately transferred to the liquid on the tongue and freezes the saliva therefore bonding the two together.

Suggestions to teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students after viewing the clip:

a. Why did his tongue get stuck to the pole?
b. Would a warm drink cool down faster in a metal or plastic cup?
c. Why are stove top burners made of metal?

2. Have the students investigate into something that they come into contact with daily by experimenting with what material keeps drinks hotter longer. Follow this link: http://pals.sri.com/tasks/9-12/KeepItHot/ for a project set-up for testing materials for wrapping around hot beverages in a paper cup. When the results have been found have the students write a letter to Starbucks informing them of their findings and imploring them to use their product as they are avid coffee drinkers and would like to see it stay warmer longer.

3. Have the students investigate the world they live in by taking note of every device that uses metal as a thermal conductor. Have the class make a list and then have each student choose one and research it's development discovering how and when the researchers decided that metal is the best material for this product.