# Taking a Turkey’s Temperature - Numberphile | Summary and Q&A

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November 27, 2019
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Numberphile
Taking a Turkey’s Temperature - Numberphile

## TL;DR

Eighth-grade students are given a Thanksgiving homework assignment to graph the temperature of a turkey throughout the day, leading to valuable lessons in thermodynamics.

## Key Insights

• 🧑‍🎓 The Thanksgiving homework assignment combined science education with real-life application, engaging students in a practical experiment.
• 💨 Students showcased their creativity and problem-solving skills by finding alternative ways to measure temperature when they were unavailable.
• 🧑‍🎓 The assignment had a positive impact on students, increasing their involvement in traditional holiday activities and fostering curiosity about scientific concepts.
• 🥵 By observing the temperature graph, students could grasp the basic principles of heat flow and the importance of temperature gradients.
• 🤔 Some students demonstrated exceptional critical thinking by graphing the temperature of a live turkey, surprising the teacher with their creative approach.
• 🤗 The assignment highlighted the importance of hands-on experiments and self-discovery, as students had to find their own equipment and figure out how to carry out the experiment.
• 🧑‍🎓 Parent feedback indicated that the assignment not only enriched students' understanding of thermodynamics but also brought families together by involving students in Thanksgiving preparations.

## Transcript

Okay, about 10-15 years ago, I taught some eighth graders. It's coming up on Thanksgiving, holiday and we've just finished doing Newtonian mechanics and basic physics. We're about to start on thermodynamics, so I say ah, I know what to do. Here's your homework. Over Thanksgiving, make a graph of the temperature of a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. You ... Read More

### Q: What was the purpose of the Thanksgiving homework assignment?

The assignment aimed to introduce eighth-grade students to the concept of thermodynamics and the idea that heat flows from hot to cold.

### Q: What kind of graphs did the teacher receive from students?

The teacher received a variety of graphs, some with straight lines connecting temperature points, while others had more complex patterns or unusual temperature readings.

### Q: How did parents react to the assignment?

Parents were delighted with the assignment since it encouraged their children to spend time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day and actively participate in the holiday preparations.

No, the teacher suggested alternative options for students who didn't have turkeys or thermometers, such as measuring the temperature of lasagna or chow mein.

## Summary & Key Takeaways

• An eighth-grade teacher assigns students to graph the temperature of a turkey on Thanksgiving Day as a way to introduce thermodynamics.

• The assignment allows students to use their creativity and problem-solving skills to measure temperature, even if they don't have a turkey or thermometer.

• Parent feedback reveals that the assignment not only taught scientific concepts but also encouraged students to engage in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.