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Engineering Design of Thermal Home with Renewable Energy Source for specific Biomes of the world


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Keywords: Thermal energy, weather, climate, engineering, Science, Research, collaboration, creativity, communication
Subject(s): Science, Life Science, Earth Science, Reading, Physics
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Crossroads Elementary School, O'Fallon, MO
Planned By: Kimberly Kessler
Original Author: Kimberly Kessler, O'Fallon
Primary Learning Outcomes
Students will utilize technology to assess current research and data to investigate their chosen topic
Students will learn the different biomes
Students will learn the major characteristics of the biomes
Students will identify and design solutions to minimize thermal energy transfer.
Students will understand weather and climate within various biomes
Students will investigate sources of renewable energy and apply that knowledge to a specific biome and home design

Secondary Learning Outcomes
Students will enhance their presentation skills
Students will communicate scientific investigations and information clearly.
Students will enhance reading in all curriculum areas
Students will assess the flow of energy and matter within their ecosystems.
Students will create models and explain their purpose and application to real world architectural and engineering design

Background

Students will be able to use their research skills, scientific knowledge and creativity to design, build and present the best solution with curb appeal in this project.

Some biomes you may choose to assign to your class include: desert, marine, tundra, savannah, grassland, tropical rainforest, deciduous forest, coniferous forest.



Materials: (based on one class of 30 students)

Access to technology with current data
Mylar
Small cardboard box (15)
Felt (1 per group)
aluminum foil (1 roll)
plastic wrap (1 roll)
black trash bags
black and white construction paper (15 each)
transparencies (15)
Cardstock (15)
Paper bag
Kinex blocks (500-600)


Procedures/Activities
PART 1 - Biome research and house presentation

Step: 1 Duration: 20 minutes Assign families and biomes for research. Go over project expectations with the students and the expected timeline for completion of the project.

See Biomes Research Organizer student handout

Step:2 Duration: 2-3 class periods
Students perform research. Students are given criteria (build a house to minimize thermal energy transfer in your chosen biome) and constraints (specific materials provided),

Step 3 Duration: 3 class periods
Students are given criteria (build a house to minimize thermal energy transfer in your chosen biome) and constraints (specific materials provided), Students plan, build, evaluate, and redesign houses.

Step 4 Duration: 3 class periods
Group presentations, each about 5 minutes long. During the presentations, students should take notes on each biome and why other families chose the building products and placements that they did. This provides all students in the class with a summary of the biomes and a study guide for the test. The instructor should evaluate the groups based on their presentation content and skills as shown in the Rubric on the last page of this document.


Total Duration 2 week class time (60 minute periods) Students may have to complete some work outside of class.



Assessment

Students are assessed as a group on their presentation and design cycle organizer for the biome and house. Students are assessed individually based on their knowledge of thermal energy transfer in comparing presented homes in different biomes and well as justifying their claim scientifically with evidence, reasoning.

Procedures/Activities
PART 2 - House and applicable renewable energy source

Step: 1 Duration: 20 minutes Assigned families from biomes research will continue their engineering project by adding a renewable energy source based on research of weather and climate within their biome. Go over project expectations with the students and the expected timeline for completion of the project.

See Weather and Climate Research Organizer student handout

Step:2 Duration: 2-3 class periods
Students perform research on renewable energy solutions (solar, water, wind). Students are given criteria (build renewable energy source to maximize capturable energy from environmental resources within biome).

Step 3 Duration: 2 - 3 class periods
Students are given criteria (build renewable energy source to maximize capturable energy from environmental resources within biome). Constraints: Use Kinex to build renewable energy model. Students plan, build, evaluate, and redesign renewable energy resource.

Step 4 Duration: 3 class periods
Group presentations, each about 5 minutes long. During the presentations, students should take notes on each biome and why other families chose the resource and placements that they did. This provides all students in the class with a summary of the biomes, types of renewable energy and a study guide for the test. The instructor should evaluate the groups based on their presentation content and skills as shown in the Rubric on the last page of this document.
Comments
We are working toward student led learning, but without the technology for them to do the research with up to the minute data, they are reliant on outdated printed materials and lectures from the teacher for background knowledge. This limits their ability to what is being presented rather than them having the control and ability to follow their curiosity.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
ELA: Nonfiction research, Writing How to documents, Justifying claims with evidence, Describe cause and effect.
Engineering: imagine, design, construct, evaluate, redesign, present
Technology: digital citizenship, web based research skills,
21st Century Skills: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Problem Solving, Analytical Thinking
Follow-Up
How can we apply what we've learned to our school, our homes, our communities?
Materials: Mobile Labs
Other Items: 15 Chromebooks, $250.00 each, total of $3750.00
1 Chromebook Storage Cart, $500.00 each, total of $500.00