Why do We Sweat?

Children will explore the body’s natural cooling process.

Lesson Objective

Children will experiment with body temperature and differences in how children sweat.


What You'll Need

  • Temperature strips – 1 per child (available inexpensively at pharmacy and discount stores)
  • Marker
  • Dark colored tissue paper – cut in 1" × 6" strips – 1 per child
  • Chart paper

What To Do

  1. Give each child a temperature strip, and instruct them to place it on their forehead.
  2. Record their temperatures on the chart.
  3. Tell the children that their bodies are dry (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  4. Take the children outside (or indoors), and have them participate in active exercises for about 2–5 minutes or until they begin to sweat.
  5. Bring them back to the classroom, and give each child a strip of tissue paper.
  6. Have the children place the tissue paper on their forehead, and check to see if there is water.
  7. Give each child a temperature strip, and instruct them to place it on their forehead a second time.
  8. Record their temperatures on the chart.
  9. Compare and discuss the temperature differences.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Touch your forehead, and describe how it feels.
  • (After exercising) touch your forehead, and describe how it feels.
  • Tell me what happened to the tissue paper.
  • Explain why you think your two temperature recordings are different.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Put a glass of cold water in the sun, and discuss what happens to the water over time. Discuss what happens to the outside of the glass.
  • Put a glass of ice in the sun, and keep track of the length of time it takes for the ice to melt. Notice what happens to the outside of the glass; keep track of the length of time it takes for the condensation on the outside of the glass to evaporate.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe how their forehead feels both before and after exercising?
  • Could children explain what happened to the tissue paper?
  • Could children explain the difference in the temperature recordings?


Did You Know

Your body works best when it is at a temperature of 98.6 degrees. Your body is comfortable and works well at this temperature. When your body gets hotter than that, your brain does not like it. The part of the brain that controls our body temperature senses that it is too hot and sends a message to our bodies to sweat. Sweating is a great way for our bodies to cool off. Sweat is mostly water. Sweat leaves your skin through tiny holes in your skin called pores. When the sweat hits the air, it evaporates, or dissolves. As the sweat leaves your body, you cool down.

Sweating is normal. The average person has over 2 million sweat glands on their body. Sometimes, when it’s really hot, we sweat a lot and lose a lot of water. It is important for us to drink lots of water to put that water back into our bodies. 

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • body – the physical parts that make up a person.
  • temperature – the degree of heat or cold of an object or person.
  • sweat – the liquid that comes off of the skin.
  • exercise – activity that improves the health of the mind and body.
  • forehead – the part of the face above the eyes and below the hair.
  • cool – a little cold; not warm.

Lesson Tips

  • Encourage all children to participate in the physical activity. They could do jumping jacks, dance, or run around the play area. The idea is to get them moving so that they create a little bit of sweat.


  • How Does My Body Work? by Charlotte Guillain
  • Max Exercises by Guido van Genechten
  • Oh the Things You Can Do That Are Good For You: All About Staying Healthy by Tish Rabe
  • Skippyjon Jones Shapes Up by Judy Schachner

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS