RES.TLL-004 | Fall 2013 | Undergraduate

STEM Concept Videos

Governing Rules



This video begins with observations of spontaneous processes from daily life and then connects the idea of spontaneity to entropy. Entropy is described as a measure of the number of possible ways energy can be distributed in a system of molecules. Students apply this description to understand the entropy change in a heat diffusion experiment.

Learning Objectives

After watching this video students will be able to:

  • Describe, at a basic level, the concept of a microstate.
  • Discuss what entropy measures in a conceptual way.

Funding provided by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Developed by the Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) at MIT for SUTD

MIT © 2012

It is highly recommended that the video is paused when prompted so that students are able to attempt the activities on their own and then check their solutions against the video.

During the video, students will:

  • Review the definition of a spontaneous process.
  • Predict the sign of the entropy change for the system and surroundings in a heat diffusion experiment.
  • Perform a simplified calculation to check their predictions.