It's Getting Hot In Here (Testing Insulated Thermoses) #4850


#21

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?
This is a really cool experiment and can be used in so many classes. I will definitely use it in my Environmental Science class as a project to determine the insulating efficacy of various materials in a unit about energy and natural resource uses.

Which part of the lesson would your students need extra support?
One of the main concerns here is the positioning of the sensor in various containers. Making sure the sensor does not pick up external thermal fluctuations is one of the most critical aspects in this experiment.

What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
Monitoring the data collection process and explaining possible sources of errors.

What does student success look like?
Students here can be successful if they can apply the results of this experiment to a global context in reference to the ability of various materials to insulate and result in energy efficient applications.

Gianluca


#22

Jill,

I didn’t know about DonorsChoose Project. It looks like a really good platform for getting funds for school projects. Thank you for sharing!

Gianluca


#23

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)?
In 8th Grade we do a unit on heat transfer. This would fit in perfectly. It also is a valuable lesson on control variables. I might modify the thermos lab so that they were testing the ability to keep things hot and keep them cold. If anyone is interested, I would provide have them with a guiding question and have them identify the variables and the methodology. Also, I would have them explain why they think they received the results that they did. It seems that my thermo flask was well worth the effort.

Which part of the lesson would your students need extra support?
I think that my students could handle this experiment. There really isn’t any coding and only one component to attach. The biggest issue would be to collect data over an extended period of time. A fifty minute class allows for some data collection but it would be better to go for a much longer period of time.

What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
Supporting student analysis of data by asking probing questions. Verifying student methodology in regard to controlling variables and frequency of data collection.

What does student success look like?
Students can construct an experiment that is a fair test of the guiding question. Students can accurately collect and present data. Students can identify patterns in the data and graphs. Students can explain why one type of insulation is more efficient and a reason why.


#24

You comment about use in Environmental Science made me think that the sensor could be used in testing the albedo of different materials. In California, the state is providing financial incentives for homeowners to removal of less drought tolerant landscape and replace it with more drought tolerant surfaces. Some of the choices that people make may conserve water but could increase the effect on global warming. I think this would be an interesting area for students to study.


#25
  1. Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)?

    I would like to use this lesson with my physics class in the thermodynamics chapter. This lesson took a long time. It would be to long to use in my classroom as written. I was wondering about using it to make a heat curve? I could set up a cup of ice on a hot plate and place the temperature sensor in with the ice and then record the temperature as the ice melts and begins to boil. I would need to see however, if the sensor board would be damaged by the boiling water.

    With this current lab set-up, I could teach a lesson and we could set timer to periodically check the temperature and record it. I would need either multiple set-ups or I would only be able to test one mug a day.

  2. Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to successful?

    Making sure that they do not damage the sensor with the water. Maybe getting the needed data from the graphs.

  3. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?

    I want to teach a thermo lab with the temperature sensor next year but will need to figure out a way to make it work in one class period. I would need to make sure that kids have the sensor correctly placed in a watertight bag before they submerge the sensor. The class will also be dealing with hot water so I will need to monitor to make sure that they do not injure themselves.

  4. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?

    Depending on what the final version of the lab will look like, will effect this answer. I hope that they will get a better hands on understanding of how thermodynamics effects their everyday life. If I have them make a heat curve, then success will be represented by having the correct shape to their graph.


#26

That is a wonderful idea. I could have each class get the data for one type of bottle and then share the data among the different classes.


#27

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)?
This activity would be a great one to do with my 5th graders on variables. It would give them opportunity to use some basic scientific skills in a real world scenario. I could even do the inverse and have the students test to see who’s water bottle kept their drinks the coldest. I like the idea of incorporating a little friendly competition.

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
I think the biggest challenge with my students here would be to ensure that all of the electronics were protected properly. I would definitely have to give a quick mini lesson on the how and why of safeguarding our gear.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
My role would be that of a modeler and facilitator. A successful teacher is one who enables the students to see the relevance and meaning behind the data they collect. Getting fully functional kits returned in the end would also indicate success.

What does “student success” look like?
A successful student would be one who can make predictions, conduct the tests properly and record their data. In the end, they should be able to explain the process as well as their results.


#28

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)?
One of the STEM units we do at our school across grade levels is something call green building. We measure the efficiency of buildings, carbon footprints, etc. We also have this awesome lesson we do call the penguin house. We have this ice tray that has ice cubes shaped like penguins and we give groups one of those cubes and they have to time how long it takes for it to melt completely at room temperature, outside, and in a cooler. Then, using that information, students create a 4" cube out of recycled materials of their choosing to insulate their own penguin. The student whose penguin is still “alive” at the end of the school day gets a prize. It’s super fun and the kids go all out, but one thing I struggle with is that if the kids don’t make a viewing window for the penguin, we have to open the house up, letting lots of warm air in, hurting their chances. Also, sometimes the kids can’t help themselves and sneak a peak! Setting up the temperature sensor and letting them determine their own measures of success might revitalize this project!


#29

This is a great lesson, but I think it will fit in more with science than math classes. If I did this with my students, I would have to monitor this one closely. I think I would worry more about equipment damage, than the students. With YETI (and more likely fake YETIs) becoming so popular, I know I can’t be the only one curious about how they keep the ice cold for so long. The kids would be interested right from the start, so buy-in would be easy. Success would be them explaining to me which is the best thermos to keep my iced tea cold.


#30

I love the competition aspect. I know my students will do just about anything if they can beat someone else. Much respect for the He-Man/Transformer search. I just had the red plaid - I am feeling like my childhood was deprived.


#31

Find the DonorChoose ambassador in your state. They can help you get started with a match offer for your first project.


#32

Thanks so much for offering the help. I will definitely look into that option.


#33

I love that idea! Working with cold rather than hot is a much safer option. You could determine how long the thermos will keep the water cold just as easily.


#34

I have a few concerns with this experiment.

  1. It doesn’t really fit into my curriculum, but then I’m the odd one in the list of teachers here.
  2. My class periods are only 50 minutes long, so a 2 hour experiment is more than we can manage.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.