Reflection: Problem-based Approaches Build a Thermos - Section 2: Define the Problem

Before sending your students off to start researching ideas you should frame what aspects of the design they should focus their queries on.

I like to divide the problem into parts:

• The object: What are some examples; what is the basic structure and function of each part.

1-2 questions (what is a thermos? what are the parts?)

• Manipulated variable: What are the properties/structure/function; availability, safety, use.

1-2 questions (What materials are better insulators? What has been used in the past?)

• Responding variable: 1 question (How is heat loss minimized, measured?)

-How is this observed, measured, evaluated?

• Relationships between the two: 1 question (What are the the best materials that minimize heat loss and are easily obtainable)

I suggest that your students limit their questions for research to no more than five or six. Any more than this and they are most likely getting way too specific.

Research and Note Taking
Problem-based Approaches: Research and Note Taking

Build a Thermos

Unit 1: Heat Transfer and Interactions of Matter
Lesson 10 of 11

Big Idea: Need STEM lessons to help your students explore heat and temperature? This is the one.

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90 minutes

Ryan Keser

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