Sunday, April 28, 2013

Heat and Changes in Matter Lunch Box Project

The students in my class just recently finished our unit on heat and changes in matter. As a culminating activity, I had the students pretend that they were inventors from the Lunch Box Supply Company. I had the students work on this project to two weeks in the classroom. 
When I introduced this project to my students I sat them down and I led them through a mock business meeting. I had them pretend that they were inventors for the Lunchbox Supply Company. I gave them the project letter and discussed the time frame and project guidelines with them. I then assigned them a partner for the project. I had students select their own partners in the past, but I wanted them to experience what the working force is like so now I assigned partners for this project.
After introducing the project, I gave project teams time to start brainstorming their project ideas. During this time, I gave each group a piece of chart paper and box of markers to brainstorm and record their ideas on.

Our finished lunch boxes.
During the first week of the project, I gave my project teams time to research, and work on their design. I had them use the links I provided in the project letter to help them get started with their research. They had to complete their written report during this time.

Students working on their lunch box designs.
During the second week of the project, I had my students work on constructing their final project design. They needed to be ready to test their final project on the date their projects were due (I gave them two weeks total to complete their projects). When we tested their projects I gave each project team a thermometer, Lunchbox Testing Data Sheet, and a nine ounce juice cup to put in their lunchbox. I then had the students find their starting temperature for  their juice. Next, I set a timer and had the students check their juice temperatures at 5-minute intervals. During this time, they recorded the temperature and change in temperature on their recording sheet. When we finished testing, the students filled in the reflection part of their Lunchbox Data Recording Sheet.

Testing our lunch boxes.

The lunch box data sheet we used during testing.
Once we finished testing, I had my project teams share their projects and data from the Lunchbox Data Recording Sheet to the class. While each team presented, I recorded their results of a piece of chart paper. We collectively looked over each team’s results and decided which model had the best results. This model would then be the new lunchbox design for the upcoming school year.

Analyzing our data.

Presenting our projects.

My students really loved doing this project in class. It was a great way for them to use their high-level thinking skills, and get them to think outside of the box. Not to mention that it was a fun way to review our unit on heat and review measurement at the same time. You can download this project here.

I hope you enjoy using this in my classroom as much as I do!