Education Technology

Holt Modern Chemistry: Energy Content of Foods

Published on 01/18/2009

Activity Overview

This probeware Lab Energy Content of Foods from the chapter Causes of Change uses a temperature probe to calculate the temperature change of the water to determine how much energy was released when food samples burn.

Before the Activity

Read the entire lab (Teacher Resources PDF file), plan what steps you will take and setup the equipment as described.
Make copies of the Lab PDF file for your class.
Make sure DataMate is on all student calculators.

During the Activity

Students will:

  • Measure temperature changes
  • Calculate energy changes using specific heat
  • Infer the energy content of food
  • Relate energy content to types of food
  • Evaluate whether the nutrition labels are accurate


  • Directions:
  • Distribute the student activity sheets
  • Follow the procedures as outlined
  • After the Activity

    After the experiment students will:

  • Analyze the results: compile the data from their experiments and make calculations to determine the caloric content of the foods tested.
  • Draw Conclusions: interpret the data and apply it to the objectives of the experiment.

  • As a class, review student answers, discussing problems that appeared to be more challenging, and re-teaching as needed.