Heat Transfer in Architecture

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SWBAT draw how heat transfers have an impact on home heating and cooling.

Big Idea

Why do eco-friendly products help homes? Students explore how homes are heated and what compromises the efficiency of energy transfer.


30 minutes

I use a physical models to engage my students. When the students walk in the room, the room looks different. It becomes exciting and they can't wait to see what I have planned.

I use Socratic Questioning strategy. The benefit of this questioning technique is I can build off the student's questions and answers. Using their answer I can lead them to conclusions. A negative aspect is that I teach three classes and I'll have different conversations in each class. This might give some students an unfair disadvantage because I taught something in one class and not the other. I review my learning goals before my questioning. I can be fair to my students by making sure the learning goals are met despite the fact that I am not being absolutely true to the strategy.

Students give ideas about why I have out the equipment and what we are going to do with it. I love the enthusiasm and excitement the models create. 

I sometimes use the quick, dirty, and not too effective strategy, "Raise Your Hand and I'll Call on You." If I get lots of hands up, I give the students numbers and I'll call their number to help them take turns. If I get the same three hands, I use a strategy called Sharing: Flexible Fairness. I switch my questioning and move into my Discuss as a Table strategy. In this strategy I give a question and I ask students to discuss it. Students number themselves and I ask #2, for example to stand up. This person shares the answer with the class. By flexibly changing strategies in the discussion, I can make sure everyone has a chance to express their knowledge, not just the students who can raise hands fastest. 

In the movie below, I need your forgiveness. My camera person cut off my head for a time. Please close your eyes and listen to the sound. My torso can be very boring. 


20 minutes

I explain that there are scientific concepts necessary to understand to design eco-friendly homes. My strategy is a Circle Review. My students studied heat transfer and made solar ovens in the 7th grade. I write the words conduction, convection, and radiation on computer paper throughout the room. I assign three students to each paper.

I explain that we are going to see how much we can remind one another about the three concepts. Each group gets one minute at each Circle Review Station. They write as much as they can remember. Then we go to the next station. I explain that my purpose is to build off of one another. They will see the words more than once but the ideas may be different. "Write information that is missing or information you remembered because of another group response." Students go to three stations of the same words. By the end, all of the papers have similar information on them. I ask students to draw a conceptual drawing of conduction, convection, and radiation in an effort to support learning through visual imagery.


10 minutes

This lesson is tied to my design problem, Design an Eco-Friendly Building. My strategy is real world application. I want my students to understand how architects use the concept of heat transfer to build eco-friendly homes.  


To teach heat transfers, I start with a concept map strategy. I have a document called Conduction-Convection-Radiation.Concept Map. Because there is some recognition of the terms, I ask the students to discuss at tables how they think they should draw the concepts. Radiation is always the easiest, students draw a big sun, sometimes shining on a home. 

I direct teach Convection using questioning. I begin by asking questions about previous experience. "Does anyone know the definition of convection, conduction, and radiation?" I use the posters from The Engage section to start the questions and to look for misconceptions. We discuss anything on the poster from Engage, including ovens, convection ovens, how they work and why they work. Typically students talk about putting cookies on the center shelf.


10 minutes

I have another drawing activity for the students. On the back of the Concept map I have a House Concept map. I ask students to draw how they think architects use convection, conduction, and radiation as they design homes. I tell them to draw and label the homes to explain their ideas. Before I begin, I ask students about the furnace, "Where is it located? Why?" My intention is to help them understand where the heat source of a home is located and the relation to convection. Students discuss at their tables what components they drew on the houses to promote or prevent heat transfer. In the video below, my students show how they drew used heat transfers to design a house. 


10 minutes

To evaluate, I look over the drawing of the house. I want to be sure they have windows for radiation, a convective current inside the house, and an indication of conduction in the walls or roof.  Students add a fireplace, windows, and we discuss the word insulation.

I also as students where the heat sources are in their homes to start the idea of the furnace in the basement. I do three explorations after this lesson to test heat transfers in architecture. My investigation lessons include Heat Transfer in Architecure: Convection, Heat Transfer in Architecture: Radiation, and Heat Transfer in Architecture: Conduction.