Education Technology

Build an Electric Heater

Activity Overview

Build an Electric Heater is a project-based STEM activity that will engage your students in the engineering design process while using TI-Nspire™ technology.


  • Students will research science topics including:
    • Heat and temperature change
    • Wire resistance
    • Electrical heating power
    • Heating and cooling rate
  • Students will use mathematical processes of:
    • Graphing
    • Linear equation modeling
    • Regression analysis
    • Data analysis


  • Resistivity
  • Heating power
  • Current
  • Heating/cooling rate
  • Voltage

About the Lesson

Your company designs and manufactures consumer electronics. Your project manager has tasked you with designing a new line of battery powered consumer appliances that will keep a hot drink, such as coffee or tea, warm for a long period of time. Your task is to design a small electric heating element for the new line of products and to verify your design with test data.

As a result, students will:

  • Engineer and build a simple electric heater that will warm an object.
  • Use appropriate technology to evaluate their design, collaborate with colleagues and present their findings.
  • Use a simulation to understand and model the effects of wire type, cross section and length on heating power.