How Can We Minimize the Warming Effects of the Sun?
In the design challenge at the end of this unit, students will be asked to use tools and materials to design and build an object that will keep ice water cold for 30 minutes when placed in direct sunlight. To prepare for the challenge, students will test different materials to determine how well they keep an ice cube insulated. They will compare their insulated ice cube to a control ice cube in direct sunlight and record the weight of the insulated cube each minute up to 20 minutes. In the final Design Challenge they will create a container for ice water that will attempt to keep the water at the same temperature for 30 minutes. Student teams will share their results, and compare and contrast differences between each team’s approaches in solving the problem. Student teams will explain to an audience how their designs effectively minimized the warming effects of the sun and how the concepts of weight and temperature helped them in their analysis.
- Students will use given scientific information about sunlight’s warming effect on the Earth’s surface to collaboratively design and build a structure that reduces warming caused by the sun.
- With support, students individually describe:
- The problem
- The design solution
- In what way the design solution uses the given scientific information.
- Students will describe specific features of the design solution
- Students will describe that the structure is expected to reduce warming for a designated item by providing insulation
- Students will use only the given materials and tools when building the structure.
- Students will evaluate potential solutions from each other.
- Students will describe whether the structure meets the expectations in terms of cause (structure blocks sunlight) and effect (less warming).
In Lesson 1, the Empathy phase, students gain curiosity about the heat of the sun and how sunlight warms the Earth’s surface. Student teams learn together by asking questions, making observations, and gathering information for why somethings are insulated from the heat of the sun and how people developed new objects or tools to address these situations (for instance: umbrellas, canopies, tents, lunchboxes, water bottles, etc.); (NGSS K-2-ETS1-1). In Lesson 2, the Define phase, students examine different materials that might be useful for insulating an ice cube from the heat of the sun. They draw and compare an insulated ice cube to that of a control ice cube as each melts; (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.1) and (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.2). In Lesson 3, the Design Challenge or Ideate, Prototype, and Test phases, student teams iterate on a design prototyping it, testing it, and redesigning it until all requirements are met to design an insulator for a container using materials that minimize the effects of sunlight on a container of ice water when the container is placed in direct sunlight (NGSS K-PS3-2). The final design compares the temperature of the water inside the insulated container to the temperature of the water inside the non-insulated container after 30 minutes to verify which design material worked best [(NGSS K-2-ETS1-2), (NGSS K-2-ETS1-3. ), (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.1) and (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.2).