I have a few concerns with this experiment.
- It doesn’t really fit into my curriculum, but then I’m the odd one in the list of teachers here.
- My class periods are only 50 minutes long, so a 2 hour experiment is more than we can manage.
- I have concerns with hot water usage for purposes of scald safety, but I like the idea suggested above of using the same method to find how long the bottle will keep contents cold instead of hot…maybe start with a certain number of cubes of ice and monitor to see how long they stay frozen and corresponding temperatures.
- I’m concerned about the safety of the sensors in a wet environment. I think this experiment will require A LOT of monitoring to make sure the sensors and seeeduino are not damaged. Even with a cold experiment, I am concerned about water spills. I generally don’t allow liquids in my computer lab at all…so you can see why this bothers me a bit.
All that being said, I can see some potential to modify the experiment even further to satisfy my insane liquid worries. What about using the metal or stone ice cubes typically used to cool alcoholic beverages without watering them down with melted ice. I have a tiny freezer in my room and you can buy drink packs after Christmas for supper cheap on clearance. They are also available any time of year on Amazon or other similar sites.
This could also be done with freezer packs that kids use to keep their lunch boxes cold…thinking out loud here, but I even like this idea better. Let’s test different lunch boxes to see which ones are best at keeping home lunch cold until lunch time. Set up the sensors the prior day. Have students bring their lunches to my class at the beginning of the day and put the sensors in to start recording data. Unfortunately, that leaves me to collect data until class starts, but then students could finish up with the data analysis in class and go eat their lunch right after. It might be a good food safety lesson as well. If everything in the lunch box is well packaged, and I would work with parents to make sure it was, I would have much fewer reservations about sticking a sandwich bag clad sensor in there than I would into a thermos full of water. There could be a sub lesson about food safety as well. Since most of our students eat home lunch, it might open their ideas about how to properly care for spoil sensitive foods like meat and mayo.
Students could analyze data and create a report on the effectiveness of their lunch packing practices. Maybe they will find that they need an extra ice pack to properly keep their food cold until consumption. Students could write a report on their findings and give the information back to parents…again, thinking out loud here. I will have to contemplate this lesson further to discover a way to make it really useful in my classroom.