In these two design challenges, students will design and construct their own thermos/storage device using craft materials and measure its effectiveness to insulate a liquid with a PocketLab temperature probe. These activities are aligned with two middle school NGSS standards and are a great open-ended, hands-on project for students to engage their critical thinking and engineering skills.
How does adding thermal energy affect the particle motion of a gas?
NGSS Alignment: MS-PS3-4
The disciplinary core idea behind this standard is PS3.A: Definitions of Energy and PS3.B: Conservation fo Energy and Energy Transfer. In PS3 the standard specifically looks at how temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles of matter. This leads to the conclusion that the temperature and the total energy of a system depend on the type, states, and the amounts of matter present.
Using PocketLab to Teach MS-PS2-1: Engineering Design and Newton's Third Law
NGSS Standard MS-PS2-1: What's in the standard?
Teaching NGSS Standard MS-PS2-1 can have challenges. Students need to apply principles in forces and motion to engineer a design that will solve a problem. The performance expectation for the standard states: Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
A common experiment for studying the reflectivity of different colored surfaces makes use of colored construction paper, aluminum foil, a light source, and a light sensor. Voyager’s light sensor and the little flashlight included with the Explorer Kit are perfect tools for performing this experiment. Empty graphs and data tables suitable for copying for student use are included with this lesson.
NGSS Alignment: MS-PS4-1
The disciplinary core idea behind this standard is PS4.A: Wave Properties. It specifically looks at how a simple wave has a repeating pattern with a specific wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. The Crosscutting Concept, Patterns, looks at how graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. By creating graphs of mechanical waves, using a PocketLab Voyager or PocketLab One with a simple pendulum or a mass on a spring, students can examine how the graphs created are modeling by the movement and energy of the pendulum or mass-spring system.
NGSS Alignment: MS-PS2-3
The disciplinary core idea behind this standard is PS2.B: Types of Interactions. It specifically looks at electric and magnetic forces and how they can be attractive or repulsive, and how the size of the force can depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved. The strength can also depend on the distances between the interacting forces.
Energy Transfer Experiment: Gravitational Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy
Does a falling object have potential energy or kinetic energy or both? In other potential energy experiments, we demonstrated the Law of Conservation of Energy: energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but instead, energy transfers from one form to another. In this investigation, we will take a look at the role of gravity in energy transfer.
The law of conservation of energy tells us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Instead, it changes from one form of energy to another. Potential energy is energy that is stored in an object. Potential energy can transfer into other forms of energy, like kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is energy in an object because of its motion.