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Background For Teachers:
As the students will engage in a group experiment, they will need background in the scientific method. The steps in this method are ask a question; gather background research; form a hypothesis; experiment; analyze your data; draw conclusions; and record your results.
It is helpful if the students have already done several guided experiments using this method in class. If not, differentiation should be used to help those students who need more guidance, whereas more advanced students may discover on their own.
Baby food jars and several insulation materials are needed for this lesson. These include: down, gloves/mittens, cotton sock, wool sock, other types of cloth or clothing, sand, plastic foam, dirt, large piece of paper, foam packing peanuts, wood, aluminum foil, leaves, paper towels, cardboard, cotton balls, shredded paper, fiberglass insulation, etc. Collect them on your own before the experiment or have your students bring in items easily accessible from home. If using fiberglass insulation, you will need gloves so the material does not irritate the skin.
The ability to transfer heat within an object is called thermal conductivity. It varies for different materials. Gold, silver and copper have high thermal conductivity so these materials are also good conductors of electricity. Other materials, such as glass and mineral wool, have low thermal conductivity. This quality makes them good insulators. A good insulator is a poor conductor. Less dense materials are better insulators. Thus, gases insulate better than liquids, which in turn insulate better than solids.
An interesting fact is that poor conductors of electricity are also
poor heat conductors.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Pass out a Which Uses More Energy? sheet to each student. Allow between five and ten minutes for completion and journaling.
Osman, M., & Hannafin, M.J. (1994). Effects of advance organizing, questioning and prior knowledge on science learning. Journal of Educational Research, 88(1), 5-13.
Good questioning requires skill and planning. Learning is maximized in classes where questions are encouraged, elaboration and explanation are expected, and feedback is frequent. Effective science teachers ask many higher-lever thinking and follow-up questions throughout a lesson. Better teacher questioning practices lead to better learning by all students. The foundation to good questioning is strong content knowledge and a firm understanding of how students learn so that misunderstandings may be anticipated.
Chapman, C. & King, R. (2005). 11 Practical Ways to Guide Teachers Toward Differentiation. ERIC Source (ERIC EJ752246). Retrieved December 17, 2007, from http://www.eric.ed.gov
Differentiated learning takes student differences into account. By focusing on the needs of the individual learner, students will do better in school. Eleven steps are presented to help teachers move toward a differentiated curriculum, including knowing the standards, varying instructional strategies and activities, creating a positive learning climate, providing a wide variety of materials, knowing the students, and adjusting assignments when necessary.
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