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Middle School Science: A Problem-Based "Heat and Energy" Unit (PBL)

Middle School Science: A Problem-Based "Heat and Energy" Unit (PBL)
Grade Levels
Common Core Standards
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1 MB|62 pages
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Goldilocks Schmoldilocks: A Problem-Based "Heat and Energy" Unit

In the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldilocks arrives at the three bears house to find 3 very different bowls of porridge – one too hot, one too cold, and one just right. Yet, all three bowls were poured from one pot and left to sit out the same amount of time. Why are the three bowls so different?

In this unit, students learn about heat and energy so that they can unravel this fairy tale conundrum.

Time: 10 days

Objectives: (Texas 6th grade science)
The student knows that the Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it just changes form. The student is expected to:
(A) investigate methods of thermal energy transfer, including conduction, convection, and radiation;
(B) verify through investigations that thermal energy moves in a predictable pattern from warmer to cooler until all the substances attain the same temperature such as an ice cube melting;
(C) demonstrate energy transformations such as energy in a flashlight battery changes from chemical energy to electrical energy to light energy

(per lab group) hot plate, 1medium beaker, 3 small beakers, water, oats, 2 thermometer, stopwatch, hot mitts, bowls of different sizes and materials
(per teacher) 2 large beakers, 2 small flasks, food dye, plastic bottle with balloon at end, hot water kettle (optional), ice

I. Introduction
- Students read the problem statement and discuss.
II. Measuring Temperature
- Students practice reading a thermometer.
III. Porridge Observations (Lab)
- Students experiment to determine if the temperature differences could have occurred when the porridge was first cooked and poured.
IV. Porridge Observations 2 (Demos)
- Teacher demonstrations to illustrate the effect of heat on the movement of atoms.
V. Heat True/False
- Students discuss real world applications of heat, conductors, and insulators.
VI. Convection, Conduction, and Radiation Notes and Practice
- Students complete teacher-led notes and practice the vocabulary.
VII. Cooling Down (Lab)
- Students melt ice to determine if “cold” moves.
VIII. CCR Practice
- Students practice with convection, conduction, and radiation vocabulary.
IX. Equilibrium (Lab)
- Students experiment with factors that affect the equilibrium temperature.
X. Types of Energy Notes and Practice
- Students complete teacher-led notes and practice the vocabulary.
XI. Types of Energy Practice
- Students practice with types of energy vocabulary
XII. Investigation - Students design and perform their own experiments in an attempt to solve the problem.
XIII. The Story “Corrected”
- Students re-write the story with the science corrected.
XIV. Teacher Notes and Keys

The Wasp Whisperer
Total Pages
62 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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