To begin this lesson, I will ask students to share their idea of what a building's structure is. I will encourage them to take intellectual risks even if they are unsure. I will explain to students that a building's structure consists of different materials that make up the foundation and interior of a building.
I will ask students, "How does a building’s structure influence the amount of fuel required to heat the building? I will encourage students to think of different materials that can be used to make buildings and think of how these materials can influence the temperature of the interior air. As a reference, I will mention an unfinished basement. An unfinished basement can serve as a real world example that the students might be familiar with.
We will use the Affinity Diagram Quality Tool as a strategy to gather information and categorize ideas. This strategy allows students to discover common ideas and common levels of understanding. Creating an Affinity Diagram supports critical and creative thinking; in particular with analyzing and synthesizing. To develop this diagram, I will instruct students to generate ideas on small post it notes. I will encourage them to work with a partner to gather and share more ideas. I will direct students to placing their ideas on a sticky chart. Next, students will decide how to group the different ideas and we will label each group. Students will only be focusing on the questions: How does a building’s structure influence the amount of fuel required to heat the building? What materials are buildings made from that can influence the temperature of the interior air?
Next, I will display a photo of our elementary school building. I will lead a discussion that compares the two buildings.
I will extend the conversation to other building types. I will encourage the students to think of other building types and how they compare to the school building and the building in the electronic resource. We will discuss how the buildings are similar or the same, what fuels are used for producing heat in the buildings, and how do you think the amounts of fuel compare in different types of buildings? I will encourage the students to take intellectual risks and note their ideas down on the post it notes and add them to the Affinity Diagram.
I will ask the students to share if they think that the temperature is the same throughout different buildings; in particular our school building. What areas of the school are cooler or warmer and what evidence suggests that?
I will distribute the Building Structure and Interior Temperature Capture Sheet to students. I will explain to the students that I will lead them on a walk through of the building to identify the different temperatures throughout the building. I will prompt them to take their pencil, a clipboard and the Building Structure and Interior Temperature Capture Sheet. I will provide them with thermometers to measure the temperature in each room. I will encourage students to take notes in their science journals about the building structure in each room, such as the windows, skylights, and doors; as well as how the room temperature feels.
To conclude this lesson, I will conduct a follow up discussion with the class. Some questions I will ask the students are:
~Which areas of the school do you think heated air is escaping outside? Why?
~Which areas of the school do you think cold air is coming into the building? Why?
~How does the structure of a building impact the temperature of the building’s interior?
~How does the structure of a building impact the amount of fuel required to heat up the interior?
~What evidence do you have to support these ideas?
~What changes might you make to the structure of our school to save fuel used to heat the building?
Asking students probing questions allows the students to gather the data they collected to draw conclusions. This also allows me to identify the students who have gained an understanding of the lesson and the data recorded.