Educational research has found that students have challenges understanding thermal science. Undergraduate physics students have difficulties differentiating basic thermal concepts, such as heat, temperature, and internal energy. Engineering students have been found to have difficulties grasping surface emissivity as a thermal material property. One potential source of students’ challenges with thermal science is the lack of opportunity to visualize energy transfer in intuitive ways with traditional measurement equipment. Thermodynamics laboratories have typically depended on point measures of temperature by use of thermometers (detecting heat conduction) or pyrometers (detecting heat radiation). In contrast, thermal imaging by means of an infrared (IR) camera provides a real-time, holistic image. Here we provide some background on IR cameras and their uses in education, and summarize five qualitative investigations that we have used in our courses.