Packing Products of Various Temperatures

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Investigate and identify materials and technologies used in packaging products of various temperatures

Big Idea

Students will analyze different packing materials and identify which materials are good for which temperatures.


1 minutes

Warm Up

10 minutes

I will begin this lesson with a class discussion on packing different items for shipment. I will ask students to recall any materials that they are familiar with when packing items to be shipped. I will inform students that today we will be exploring different materials that can be used for packing products.

I will display styrofoam along with aluminum foil. I will ask students to share what attributes of these materials make them useful when packing an item? What types of products or items might be packaged in these materials? I will instruct students to think-pair- and share their thoughts.


25 minutes

To begin the explore section, I will ask students to share their thoughts regarding packing heated items or cooled items. Does the packing material used to maintain a product's temperature make a difference? 

I will engage groups in investigating the effectiveness of a variety of cups (styrofoam, paper, and plastic) as insulators. I will pose the testable question: How does the material from which a cup is made affect the length of time water stays warm? 

Students will work in groups to conduct their investigation. Working in groups allows the students to share ideas and analyze their data together. 

Each group of students will receive a digital thermometer, three cup lids, a paper cup, a styrofoam cup, and a plastic cup. I will assist the students in filling each cup with warm water that is the same temperature. I will instruct the students to measure the temperature in each cup over a period of time. Students will record their data on the Cup Comparison Worksheet.

I will remind students of the importance setting control variables, such as keeping the thermometer in the water for the same amount of time each time they take a measurement, as well as keeping the cups in the same location and keeping the lids on the cups during the final investigation.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

To conclude the lesson, I will allow the students an opportunity to share their results with one another. We will discuss how each group's data compared to the others. We will discuss the students initial predictions and if their observations confirmed that prediction. 

I will ask students to conclude what their observation informs them about the effectiveness of paper, plastic, and styrofoam as insulators. I will encourage students to share their ideas. I will ask the students to share their how else we could investigate the effectiveness of these materials.