All students love a field trip even if it is only to McDonald’s to measure the temperature of the coffee. We meet at 7:30 in the morning at McDonald’s, set up in the playroom (no children are playing that early), eat breakfast and use temperature probes to collect data on the cooling coffee. The students have already researched the McDonald’s 1994 hot coffee lawsuit so we are there to find out if anything has changed since that time. We return to school and finish the “field trip” in the computer lab analyzing the data, solving Newton’s Law of Cooling differential equation, drawing conclusions, and typing the lab report.
I posted the lab directions in WORD so you can modify the document to meet your needs. I also posted a student sample lab report. If you do not have access to a computer lab, students can answer the questions in writing. If the computers are not set up to connect to the calculator to download the screens, the graphs can be sketched in the lab report.
Of course, this lab can be done in class with a pot of hot water, but where’s the fun in that???
My students encounter this concept in our calculus textbook in Ch. 6 on Differential Equations thus the numbering 6-1. Hope this is helpful. Enjoy!
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Calculus Foldable 6-1: Differential Equations
Newton’s Law of Cooling Hot Coffee Lab © 2018 by Fan’s Math