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How does a thermometer work?
  
Today's Weatherby trekkyandy on Flickr

What's in a thermometer?

Thermometers used to be filled with mercury but now most are filled with alcohol.


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Atomsby Sarah G... on Flickr

What makes molecules move faster or slower?

When atoms are heated, they move faster and have more collisions. When atoms are cooled they move slower and don't have as many collisions.
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Hundred Foot Flames (cc)by salty_soul on Flickr

How is energy transferred?

Energy is transferred by the heated and cooled molecules. The hotter the molecules are, the more speed and energy they have. When they collide with something, they transfer all their kinetic energy to the thing they collide with.
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125 In The Shade!by LetTheCardsFall on Flickr

What determines a hot temperature?

When it is hot outside, the air molecules are moving at a fast rate. They collide with the outside of the glass of a thermometer and transfer all their energy through the glass to the molecules inside. Then the molecules inside the thermometer start moving faster and push the liquid causing it to expand.
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-1, -2 = 29by OliBac on Flickr

What determines a cold temperature?

When its cold outside the air molecules are moving at a lot slower rate. When they collide with the thermometer, they transfer the little energy they have to the molecules inside the thermometer. Then the molecules inside the thermometer are moving slowly and don't push on the liquid as much. That means that the liquid won't go as high so there will be a colder temperature.
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