Keeping Us Warm

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SWBAT to describe which of the two cloths hold the most heat.

Big Idea

Children know that sweaters keep them warm. However, this activity permits students to understand that heat can be retained or lost in two different environments.

Setting the Stage

National Science Education Standards:

  • Changes in the Earth

"Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons."

This lesson addresses how weather changes from season to season. In this lesson, students learn that weather changes from season to season and they that wear a particular type of clothes to keep them warm.  This lesson allows students to investigate two different kinds of cloth and to determine which cloth retains the most heat. This lesson is taught to support the Tennessee State Standards. In Tennessee, students should be able to associate temperature patterns with seasonal changes.

Science and Engineering Practice: 

SP 3 addresses planning and carrying out investigations.  In K-2, students plan and conduct investigations collaboratively with their peers to answer questions. In the lesson, the students plan an investigation on which cloth holds the most heat. This investigation is imperative because students are allowed to plan and conduct their own investigation with little guidance.

SP 4 addresses analyzing and interpreting data. In K-2, students need the opportunity to record information through investigations. In this lesson, students record data on a provided chart so they can compare the temperature changes in their investigation. The students analyze the data to see which cloth retains the most heat.

SP 7 addresses constructing an argument from evidence. In K-2, students learn how to construct an argument with evidence to support a claim. In this lesson, students collaborate with their peers to determine which cloth is better to wear in the winter and why. This lesson is important because students learn that heat is retained or lost with observing two different cloths.

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. In K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas.  In this lesson, groups communicate with each other on how different cloths retain heat. This lesson is imperative because it allows each group to be engaged in dialogue about their investigation. It is important that students are given the opportunity to discuss their ideas with others. As they work like scientists, they learn the importance of sharing their findings as well as gain confidence in sharing their findings with others.

Prior Knowledge:

Students are aware of the different kinds of seasons and have experienced various kinds of weather. They also know what kinds of clothes to wear during various seasons. Also, they understand that weather changes daily.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are referred to as Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets that they created early in the school year to be worn, during their experiments. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It is Science Time" before each lesson or "I Got A Feeling".



10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song that the class sings at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, my students are referred to as scientists to empower students and make them dreamers and doers.

“I Can” statement

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can explain which cloth holds the most heat." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.

Circle Map

While students are sitting at their desk, they are provided with a circle map. Students are informed to write words that describe what they wear to stay warm.  This assignment allows me to access students' prior knowledge as well as stimulate their thinking. The graph is essential because the students are provided with an opportunity to articulate what they know about clothes that help them to stay warm.  As a class, the students share their ideas and I record their responses on an over-sized circle map.


25 minutes

My students proceed to their group tables when I say "We Are On The Move" and they stand and sing, We Are On The Move. This routine helps my students move to their table with very few distractions. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoy singing as well as my kinesthetic children who enjoy moving.  

When students get to their tables, they begin to assign their roles: a person to lead, record, measure, and report. I assign the leader who is one of my advanced students who posses, leadership qualities. They put on their group labels with a clothes pin to ensure that I know each child's role.  Students are grouped by abilities to support students’ learning. I want all my students to take ownership of their learning, so assigning roles permits students to develop confidence in their roles while using their strengths to accomplish their group's goals.  All hands must be on deck.  The groups are reminded of the group rules. The group rules are located at their table so they can reference them.

Groups are provided with two jars of warm water, two different types of cloth, two thermometers, and lab sheet.

They are instructed to ask and observe questions about the items. They are encouraged to write their questions on their lab sheet. Then I instruct the groups to make a prediction. I ask, "Which material will hold the most heat?" The groups are prompted to write their hypothesis on their lab sheet. I walk around to observe their questions and hypothesis.

I have the students to wrap both jars with the two different cloth. I encourage the students to use the masking tape to hold the fabric.  Teacher note: Also, you can hot glue the fabric to the jars.  Please pour the water in each group's jars.

I caution the students to be careful when touching the jars. It is important to remind the students about safety rules, so they can stay safe when working like a scientist. Then I instruct the students to place the thermometer in each jar. They are to record the temperature. They are instructed to remove the thermometer when they have read the temperature. They measure the jar again in 10 minutes. Groups only measure twice. The results are recorded.  I give the students 25 minutes to complete the investigation. I time the students, so there is no idle time. 

While the students are working, I play  the facilitator. I walk around to make sure that the groups are on task and I help as needed. I ask the groups questions such as: How is wrapping cloth around a jar like wearing a sweater? Which seasons do you wear sweaters and why? Which cloth would you wear in the fall or winter? What instrument are you using to measure the water?  These questions are asked to assess students' understanding. It is important to question students in order to assist them with thinking critically about the taught content. 

Keeping Us Warm-video

Keeping Warm-Student Work


10 minutes

Group Debriefing

While groups are at the tables, I call on one group at a time to present their findings. As the groups present, I am listening to their results. It is important that students are permitted the opportunity to communicate their results to others. This permits the students to build confidence. After all groups present, they discuss which cloth holds the most heat and why? The students should discuss how the furry fleece holds the most heat because it was a much thicker cloth compared to the broad cloth. Fabrics like fleece are great insulators and keep your body warm over a period of time. On the reverse side, fabrics like broad cloth does not work as a great insulator. 

I take up all lab sheets to ensure that groups completed the lab sheet successfully.