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Crash Course


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 9 minutes, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



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Crash Course

  • This video explains temperature and the linear or volume changes caused by thermal expansion using the example of bridge expansion joints and the volume of air in a car at different temperatures.
  • The video also uses the properties of an ideal gas and the ideal gas law to demonstrate the mathematic relationships between temperature, pressure, and volume.
Teaching Tips


  • The video uses animations, mathematical equations, and relatable real-world examples to demonstrate the concepts.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video moves quickly and covers a lot of content. Teachers should pause the video periodically and replay portions to ensure students absorb all the information.
  • Students should already be familiar with kinetic energy and mathematical proportionality.
  • The video starts by briefly introducing a sponsor and ends with more information about the sponsor beginning at 8 minutes.


  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with engineering courses by further investigating expansion joints and their applications beyond bridges.
  • This video can be connected to climate change for physics and engineering classes by exploring how rising global temperatures will affect how we construct roads, bridges, and other infrastructure or how power plants currently use heat, temperature, and pressure to power electricity-generating turbines.
  • Students could explore how geothermal energy and passive solar technology rely on differences in temperature to provide renewable energy or passive heating and cooling for buildings.
  • This video can also be connected to climate change for Earth sciences classes by discussing how the ideal gas law and temperature relate to atmospheric warming, global wind patterns, and the greenhouse effect.
  • Students can delve further into this topic by checking out these videos on heat and the laws of thermodynamics.
Scientist Notes

This video explains how thermodynamics is a vital component of designing bridges. When objects change temperature, they can either expand (when heated) or shrink (when cooled). This video presents accurate physics and is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
      • HS-PS2-6 Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.
    • PS3: Energy
      • HS-PS3-1 Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.
      • HS-PS3-4 Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics).
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Algebra: Reasoning with Equations & Inequalities (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.REI.B.3 Solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable, including equations with coefficients represented by letters.
    • Functions: Interpreting Functions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.IF.A.2 Use function notation, evaluate functions for inputs in their domains, and interpret statements that use function notation in terms of a context.
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