Academic Standard

Tennessee State Standards
Science (2009-2018)
Grade range: 
9 to 12
Subject = Physics
Thermodynamics is study of energy on the molecular level, and how this energy can be harnessed to produce useful mechanical work. As the name thermodynamics implies, thermal energy can move as it is transferred from one body to another as heat. This flow of thermal energy can cause changes in the state of substances, or cause them to expand or contract. The industrial revolution was born when humans invented, and then improved upon, the steam engine our first attempt to harness the flow of thermal energy and convert a small portion of it into mechanical work. Our modern automobiles, refrigerators, and electrical power plants all run on thermodynamic heat transfer, and are ultimately governed by the laws of thermodynamics.Conceptual StrandThe principles and laws of thermodynamics are essential for understanding the concept of energy.Guiding QuestionHow do the laws of thermodynamics relate to understanding the conservation of energy?
Elements within this Standard
Course Level Expectation
Develop an understanding of temperature, heat, and internal energy.
Compare Celsius, Kelvin and the Absolute temperature scales.
Investigate exchanges in internal energy.
Check For Understanding
Investigate temperature in relationship to kinetic energy.
Identify the characteristics of internal energy and temperature/heat (joules/calories).
Experiment with change in heat content (quantity of thermal energy) and relate to kinetic energy and specific heat.
Investigate phase changes of heat of fusion, heat of vaporization, and heat of sublimation.
Explore thermal expansion and contraction [Linear and Volumetric Expansion]
Apply the second law of thermodynamics to the Carnot engine.
Apply the Laws of Thermodynamics to the atmospheric levels of the earth (i.e., greenhouse effect and climate change).
Recognize that absolute zero is the absence of molecular kinetic energy.
Relate the First Law of Thermodynamics as an application of the Law of Conservation of Energy and heat transfer through conduction, convection, and radiation.
Investigate calorimetry, kinetic energy, and specific heat.
State Performance Indicator
Relate temperature changes with the changes of kinetic energy.
Select characteristics of internal energy in relationship to temperature and heat transfer.
Solve problems of heat exchange with respect to specific heat using the formula card.
Solve problems related to heat of vaporization and heat of fusion.
Solve problems related to linear and volumetric expansion.
Solve problems of heat exchange.