Measuring Skills: Temperature

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SWBAT measure temperature using metric units and tools.

Big Idea

Do you wonder what keeps you warm on a cold, snowy day? Learn to measure temperature by investigating which materials are good insulators.

Bell Ringer - What Is The Temperature On The Thermometer?

5 minutes

What is the temperature on the thermometer?

I ask this question and give my students 3 minutes to read each thermometer on the worksheet. I encourage students to be accurate as they read each thermometer. Remind students that scientists use metric and so they should read a thermometer in Celsius.

This Bell Ringer will provide an opportunity to activate student's learning about thermometers and temperature. Practice is important to master a skill.

As I circulate the classroom, I look for accuracy (MP6 attend to precision) in their work and then take about 1 minute to share answers with the class. This can be done with an overhead projector, document camera, or a Smart Board. Students need the opportunity to visualize the correct answers.

Which Type Of Material Insulates Heat The Best?

30 minutes

Scientists need tools to do science and measuring is one way they do that. Measuring brings math and science together. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking is a core concept in the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices.  Students need to know how to measure accurately in order to share data and information with other scientists and metric is the "language" of science.

Asking questions and defining problems is Practice 1 of the Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS. When you do a lab, you want students to practice asking questions, form answers to those questions, and then determine what questions have yet to be answered. Another Practice, #8, is obtaining, evaluating and communicating information and helping students realize that science cannot advance if scientists are unable to communicate effectively. It's good practice! 

Each day I ask one student to read the Target for the lesson. This provides an opportunity for all students to hear and see the target that is posted on the board and understand the goal of the lesson. I also post a red(no device this class period), yellow(sometimes use a device this class period), or green(use device all class period) dot which indicates use of electronic devices during the class period.

I prepare the class for the lab by reading the directions aloud. I do this because my students read at a variety of levels and this allows all students to hear the directions. As I read, I engage students in discussion, ask questions, and provide background knowledge for the terms thermometer, temperature, heat, and insulator. I will also have students highlight or underline these vocabulary terms as we discuss them in context to the lab. 

After I give supplies to students, I have them set up each beaker with an insulating material. Students use their own device as a timer or stopwatch and I have them collect the temperature of the water (MP5 use appropriate tools strategically) in each beaker every minute for ten minutes.

After students collect data, I circulate the classroom and ask them guiding questions such as: How would you compare the water temperature in each beaker? What happened after 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 8 minutes? Describe the changes that occurred. I am looking for answers such as: Each beaker has a different temperature because they each have a different insulating material, and the temperature kept dropping because the insulating material did not work well. Asking students these questions will help them to analyze the data and form a conclusion. 

Write A Conclusion

5 minutes

Now, let's write a conclusion. As with any experiment, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but that ok. This provides opportunity to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and changes that could be made to the experiment. This step is very important for students to "come full circle."

I have learned that you need to take students back to the question so they can think about the process. What type of material insulates heat the best? Take 1-2 minutes for students to process this question and write a conclusion. I give them a sentence starter to help with the process, for example:  I learned that . . .because. . .  Take 1 minute to share answers with the class so students can hear other student thoughts.