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EDUC 2220- Educational Technology Lesson Plan

The Penguin Heat Transfer Project

4th Grade
Amy K Spears
5 Year Professional License Grades1-8 and TESOL (K-12)

Common Core Standards:

Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.
Understand decimal notation for fractions, and compare decimal fractions.
7. Compare two decimals to hundredths by reasoning about their size.
Represent and interpret data.
Language Arts Writing Standards
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task,
purpose and audience.
7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge thought investigation of different aspects of a
8. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital
sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.
Ohio 4th Grade Science Standards
Physical Science
This topic focuses on the conservation of matter and physical properties of matter that allow the transfer
of heat or electricity.
1. The total amount of matter is conserved when it undergoes a change.
2. Energy can be transformed from one form to another or can be transferred from one location

Lesson Summary:
In this series of lessons, students will do three main activities and participate in some smaller support activities.
The three activities focus on conduction, induction and radiation. On the first day, the students will experiment
with a variety of insulators and discover which ones are better for minimizing heat transfer. On the second day,
students will learn about heat transfer and do an experiment with different insulators and conduction. On the
third and fourth day, students will participate in some Nearpod activities dealing with heat transfer. On the fifth
day, the students will be given a variety of construction materials. They will work together in small groups to
construct a house that will prevent a penguin shaped ice cube from melting. Students will measure the ice
cubes mass before and after the experiment. The measurements will help students understand the conservation
of matter and will be an opportunity for the students to show what they have learned about heat transfer.
Estimated Duration:
This series of lessons is designed to be used during a science class of 50 minutes. The series of lessons will take
approximately five class sessions for fourth grade students to complete. Extension lessons and activities can
expand the lesson to a few more days if desired.
I anticipate that the students will enjoy the three main experiments because the activities are inherently
challenging and fun. The challenges of these lessons will be maintaining class control. I can anticipate that
students will be excited about completing the activities and will want to talk and laugh with their groups. It will
be a challenge keeping their voices down at a tolerable level and keep them on task.

Instructional Procedures:
Day 1:
Setting up for the lesson:
I will put a six-pack of soda for each table group in a refrigerator overnight. An hour before class, I will record
the initial temperature of the cans as I remove them from the fridge. Then, I will put each can in the following
materials: 1) wool sock 2) cotton sock 3) aluminum foil 4) paper towel 5) plastic wrap. I will put each can
encased in the insulating material inside a brown lunch sack and label the bag. One soda can will not have
insulating material on it, so it is the control.
Classroom lesson:
Part 1 (25 minutes)

Since this is the beginning of the unit, students will take the pre-assessment that I created on Quizstar. This is
the link to the quiz.
(The same assessment will also be taken at the end of the unit to see if the students have learned from the
I will set the stage for the experiment. Explaining to the students that we are going to be working with
insulating materials, I will hold up a wool sock, cotton sock, aluminum foil, a paper towel and plastic wrap. I
will explain to students that they are going to work in a small group and decide which material would make the
best insulator. Students will make a prediction about what will be the most effective and the least effective at
keeping the cans cool. Their predictions will be recorded on an ipad using SurveyMonkey. The question will be
as follows: Rank the following materials in order from best insulator to least insulator. Number one being your
choice for the best insulator. After all the groups are finished recording their results using an ipad, the lesson
will proceed. Heres a link to the survey I created on SurveyMonkey:
I will bring up the SurveyMonkey results on the Smartboard and we will discuss the following questions:
1) Why do you believe that ______ is the best insulator?
2) Explain why you believe that _________ is the least effective insulator.
Part 2 (25 minutes)
Now, I will bring out the soda cans encased in the materials. The cans have been sitting out on the counter for
one hour before class. There will be one set of six cans for each table group. They will take the temperature of
each can that has been covered with a different insulator (by opening it and placing the thermometer inside the
can). They will record their data on a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Spreadsheet will list materials in one
column and final temperatures in the next.


Temperature (degrees celsius)

wool sock
cotton sock
aluminum foil
plastic wrap
paper towel
plain can

Finally, the group will come back together and we will talk about their results. We will discuss the temperatures
that they read off the thermometers and what those results mean to us in our experiment. (Background info for

teachers: The best insulator should be the wool sock. Insulating materials trap air and prevent air from moving
around. A heat insulator is a material that reduces the rate of heat transfer.)
Discuss the following questions as a class:
1) What is the difference between temperature and heat?
2) Why does a particular material do a better job of insulating than another material?

Day 2
Part 1
To set the stage, students watch the first part of a youtube video: Misconceptions about Temperature. and stop at 15 seconds into the video. I will pose the
question to the class, which will be colder, the book or the metal? After hearing a few student opinions, we will
do an experiment with an ice cube, a plastic spoon and a metal spoon. They will also need some paper towels
and a small container to catch the water from the melting ice cube. The students will place an ice cube in a
metal spoon and an ice cube in a plastic spoon. Then, they take turns holding the spoon as the ice melts.
Part 2
At the end of the experiment record the answers to the following questions in google docs:
1) Did the ice cube on the plastic spoon or the metal spoon melt faster?
2) Why do you think the ________________ made the ice cube melt faster?
3) What causes ice to melt?
After discussing these questions, remaining part of the youtube video.
If time allows, I would spend some time talking to the students about their results and the video.
Day 3-4
Students will spend some time learning about the three types of heat transfer: Conduction, Radiation and
Convection. These are all Nearpod presentations and are described below. Each of the presentations take about
30 minutes to complete, so with explanations about how to access and use Nearpod along with completing each
program, it would be a good idea to spend two class periods on it. While it would be best for each child to have
their own ipad and participate individually with the Nearpod activities, I know this is not always possible.
Headphones would be great as well.
Students will participate in the Nearpod presentation created by Larissa Kelsey. It is titled: Heat
Transfer:Conduction. The Nearpod presentation contains questions that students have to answer as well as a
short quiz at the end. While the target age for this presentation says, 6th-8th grade, I believe the material would
work great for this lesson. This is a link to the Nearpod presentation:

Students will participate in the Nearpod presentation created by Larissa Kelsey. It is titled, Heat Transfer:
Radiation. It is structured similarly to the presentation above.
The third Nearpod presentation is also created by Larissa Kelsey. It is titled: Heat Transfer: Convection.
As a final check on their progress and to gain some practice with their new vocabulary, the students will do the
vocabulary crossword I created on
Day 5
A few days before the lesson, fill penguin ice cube trays and freeze them (for at least 48 hours). Then, remove
them from the freezer just before students test their ice cubes.
Part 1 (30 minutes)
1) The students will construct a house for their penguin ice cube. They can use any of the available materials or
can bring items from home to construct the house. As students are constructing the house, the teacher will move
about the room and visit each of the table groups. The teacher will ask about students choice of materials and
2) To conduct the experiment, students will first use the digital scale to weigh the cup, then the weight of the
cup and the penguin ice cube.

3) The ice cube penguin will be placed in the cup inside the penguin house on the counter for 30 minutes.
4) While students are waiting the 30 minutes, they can do one or more of the following activities:
Watch a BrainPOP about Heat and take the online quiz.

Visit the Khan academy and watch the lesson on Heat Transfer (physics):
Visit the Khan academy and watch the lesson on Heat Transfer: Principals of Bioenergetics:
5) After the 30 minutes has past, post experiment measurements will be taken. Students pour off the water that
has melted. Then, they will find the difference.
This spreadsheet was taken from the Ohio Energy Project: Save the Penguins the additional notes section at the
end of my lesson plan.

Part 2 (30 minutes)

1) The teacher will use the rubric from the post-assessment section of this lesson plan to assess each students
project. To view the rubric, visit this link:
2) While teacher is completing the rubric, students will be completing the post-assessment. This is located on

The pre-assessment that I created on quizstar is at this link:
There are also pre-assessments worked into the Nearpod presentations that I will use to help determine who
quickly or slowly to move through the lessons.
Scoring Guidelines:
Scores will be communicated to me from the quizstar website after students have taken their pre-assessment.
Scores from the Nearpod assignments are also sent to the instructor for review. I will use all of these scores to
determine if re-teaching is needed or if my instruction can continue as planned. The post-assessments will be
described further in the next section.
There are three forms to the Post-Assessment.
1) The Nearpod presentation are interactive. They have short answer, quizzes and activities embedded in them.
Answers are reported to the teacher so that I will have the results to help guide lessons.
2) The penguin houses that the children construct are going to be the assessment. They are going to be evaluated
on the following rubric that I created using Google Sheets.





Used time wisely and actively


Used time somewhat wisely

and participated somewhat.

Did not use time wisely or

actively participate.

Use of Engergy

Utilized information about heat

transfer to help create the hut.

Partially used information about

heat transfer to create hut.

Did not utilize information

about heat transfer to create

Function and

The house is successful in

keeping the heat out.

The house is somewhat

successful in keeping heat out.

The house is not successful in

keeping the heat out.

3) The post-assessment quiz about Heat Transfer is the same one as the pre-assessment I created on quizstar.
Scoring Guidelines:
The final grade for this unit will be the combined scores from the students penguin house project and the

quizstar post-assessment. Students who achieve an 80% or higher on the Nearpod activities and the quizstar
post-assessment will be considered proficient. On the rubric, students should receive a 2 or 3 in all areas. If they
receive a lower score, they will need to come to class during recess/lunch and construct a new penguin house on
their own. The newly constructed house will be evaluated on the same rubric.

Differentiated Instructional Support

Extend the lesson: I will allow students who would like to continue the lesson the next day to try different
materials and see what the results are for a new and improved penguin house. There are many ways to reengineer the house. Many of the variations of this lesson that I found online allowed students to re-design and
then re-test. I decided that it would be more appropriate to do this at a higher grade level than fourth grade. Any
of the activities from the link at the end of this document can be used to extend the lesson. That lesson dives
into the topic much deeper than necessary for a fourth grader and would be great for gifted students.
Struggling Students: This lesson could be easily simplified for students who have special needs or might be
struggling with the concept. Because most of the work is completed in small groups, students have many
opportunities to complete assignments with assistance from peers. The nice thing about Nearpod is that the
lesson is done at a students own pace and not determined by the pace of the whole class. Also, this website has
links to 10 great lessons to help students who are struggling with Heat Transfer:

1. Coursera offers a few different courses that would help students to extend their learning and go beyond the
classroom lessons. Coursera is a website that offers MOOCs which address many different subject areas.
Students who would like to learn more about Heat Transfer could take one of these courses.
From Climate Science to Action: Turning Down the Heat This course teaches about climate
science and how to make changes for the future.

Global Sustainable Energy: Past, Present and Future Learn about energy sources and the future of
2. ORC provides several extension lessons about Heat Transfer and students could uses these lessons to help
learn more about the standards I am addressing in my class lessons.

This lesson addresses heat transfer: radiation, conduction and convection:
This lesson has an experiment that is about containers of different materials and addresses heat

Homework Options and Home Connections

Students might choose to bring in supplies from home or try out some trials of the experiment at home before
doing it at school.
Students at the fourth grade level dont have written science homework. But these are some websites with
science experiments relating to heat transfer that I would share with students if I had them in class. Experiments
are great for students because they learn from doing them and usually arent aware that they are doing scientific
work because they are having so much fun!
This assembly from COSI might be fun for students.

Interdisciplinary Connections
1. MUSIC: The penguin song:
The kids could learn this song and then go to the kindergarten class and teach the students the song and motions.
2. MATH: The penguin multiplication game helps students practice math facts with a penguin theme.
3. LANGUAGE ARTS: Read and enjoy some picture books about penguins. Remember, picture books are not
just for little kids. Older readers can enjoy the stories and gain fluency from picture books. Heres a list of some
favorites penguin books:

Materials and Resources:

For teachers

Ice cube trays

Penguin ice cube tray (available through Amazon for $4.99)
Internet access
Smart Board
Laptop (or other computer with Internet access) that connects to

For students

Metal spoon and plastic spoon for each pair of students

Ice cubes two per pair.
Six cans of soda per table group
Wool sock, cotton sock, aluminum foil, paper towels, plastic wrap
(some of each for each table group)
Digital thermometer (1 per table group)
Digital scale A minimum of one is needed, but it would be great to a
few more.
ipads one per student is ideal, but one per table group is still okay
Google account (so that each student has access to Google Sheets)
One Metal and one plastic spoons for each pair of students
A small container to catch water from melting ice
Paper towels for clean up.
Penguin ice cubes one per table group

Key Vocabulary/Terms
These are some key concepts needed for the these lessons:
Heat is the study of:
processes by which thermal energy is exchanged between two bodies
related changes and resulting states of those bodies
Heat is primarily focused on:
temperature differences between places or things
flow, or the movement of that thermal energy
Heat is driven by:
differences in temperature; heat transfers from high to low temperature regions
These are some key vocabulary/terms needed for this lesson.
Heat Insulator: A material that reduces the rate of heat transfer.
Heat Conductor: A material that increases the rate of heat transfer.
Conduction: Conduction is the way thermal energy transfers from one substance to another by direct contact. It
can be the direct contact between solids, or between a solid and a fluid. Kinetic energy is transferred as the
higher temperature atoms or molecules vibrate and collide with cooler atoms or molecules, warming them up
and increasing their kinetic energy. Warmth is an indication of how much kinetic energy is at the atomic level.
Convection: Convection occurs when fluids (gases or liquids) sink or rise because the cooler fluid is denser and
sinks. When this happens, the cooler fluid pushes up the warmer fluid and it rises.
Radiation: Radiation is the transfer of energy in the form of electromagnetic waves. Visible light and infrared
light are both forms of radiation that transfer heat.

Additional Notes
This lesson has been used with science students everywhere. There are many lessons on the Internet that have
been completed by a variety of instructors at many levels. This lesson can easily be adapted for use.
If you would like to expand this lesson or try it at higher grade levels, more supplemental materials can be
found at this link:
Or at this link: