Copyright

How to Read a Thermometer: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

There are many different types thermometers and they have a variety of uses. In this lesson, identify the uses of thermometers, how to identify which scale a thermometer is using, and how to read a thermometer.

What is a Thermometer?

Have you ever been sick with a fever? More than likely, someone in your family used a thermometer to read your body temperature. A thermometer is a device that is used to measure temperature, which is how hot or cold something is.

Thermometers can measure the temperature of different things. You can use a thermometer to find the temperature of the air outdoors or of something you're cooking in the kitchen. Let's discover how to find the temperature of just about anything by reading a thermometer.

Thermometers like this can be used to measure the temperature of the air outdoors.
temperature

Which Scale?

Temperature is measured in something called degrees. No, not the degree you get from college! A temperature degree is marked by a small symbol of an 'o' beside the number that indicates the temperature, like this: 45°.

There are two different scales for measuring temperature - Celsius and Fahrenheit. When reading a thermometer, the first thing to check is which scale is being used. Why is this important? There are big differences between the scales. A day that is 28°C would be very warm outside, but a day that is 28°F would be very cold!

You can tell which scale this thermometer is using to measure the temperature because the capital F stands for Fahrenheit.
temperature

Little Lines

Most thermometers use marks and an arrow, or a liquid that rises up to a line, to show the temperature. So it should be easy to read, right? Just look where the arrow is pointing or which line the liquid reaches to. Well, it isn't always that simple.

Many thermometers do not have single digits listed on them. If they did, thermometers would be incredibly large! To make them smaller, thermometers often show only the fives or tens marks on the thermometer. These are called increments, or skip counting numbers. Between these increments are little lines that stand for the smaller numbers.

So, the first step is to look at the numbers and determine what increments the thermometer is using. When you say the increments aloud, are you counting by twos? Fives? Tens? This will help get you started.

This thermometer is using increments of 20 to show the temperature.
degrees

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support