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Objectives

  • Investigate and explain heat transfer in the environment around you.
  • Broaden our vision of formative assessment and hone our skills for probing students’ scientific ideas and thinking.

Introduction

We all probably think about heat and temperature more often than we realize. We're too hot. We're too cold. The room is drafty. On any given day, we might consider whether to wear a light or heavy coat, have a discussion about global warming, or follow weather reports to find out if a hurricane is gathering energy from the warm water in the tropics. These issues interest scientists, too.

The goal of this course is to investigate and explain heat transfer in the environment around you. The challenge is to reveal the patterns of heat and temperature that you can't see. To do that, modern scientists investigate thermal phenomena from both a microscopic and a macroscopic point of view. You'll begin using temperature probes in Week 1 to see and record temperature change. (Make sure you can hook up your probes and the software this week before the start of the course!) You'll use the data you collect and Molecular Workbench computer software to make the invisible visible and to explain the vital story of heat in your life.

NOTE: The content and teaching format for this OCW version of thecourse is available as a resource only. IT IS NOT AN ONLINE-FOR-CREDIT COURSE AS IT WAS FOR MATRICULATING STUDENTS.

The Fulcrum Institute and Course Design

The Fulcrum Institute aims to prepare a group of Educators in Science who will implement and lead research-centered science learning and teaching in their schools and districts. Participants advance their professional knowledge and status through the Institute's credit-bearing, three-course sequence.

The series of Fulcrum courses focuses on improving teacher's understanding of physical phenomena and science pedagogy through hands-on investigations, Inquiry-based science sessions, and classroom research.

This course consists of a science strand and a practice strand. In the science strand, students experience inquiry first-hand as they investigate a series of everyday phenomena. These investigations give them an opportunity to look closely at materials and objects around them, to observe phenomena that they may not have noticed before, and to develop a deep understanding of density as an intensive property of matter. Students consider and evaluate models of matter that describe and explain phenomena such as diffusion, compression, and thermal expansion at the microscopic level. The practice strand introduces a model of investigation. Students analyze their experiences in the course and use four video cases (Grades 2, 4, 5, and 8) to make their understanding of inquiry more explicit. The case studies provide opportunities to think about what children do when engaged in inquiry and what teachers do to support their learning. Course is a blended face to face and online course.

Integrating inquiry, pedagogy and implementation

There are three main learning components to the course: (a) learning science content through investigation and the use of models, (b) becoming familiar with issues of formative assessment, and (c) trying assessment strategies in the classroom.

A web-based learning environment

Participants rely on a web-based environment for online communication, collaboration, scientific research and access to electronic resources. While this is an online course, participants do most of their learning offline in their everyday surroundings, using the world and their classroom as their laboratory.

While this is an online course, participants do most of their learning offline in their everyday surroundings, using the world and their classroom as their laboratory.

In Teaching: Formative Assessment

Would it surprise you to learn that a key characteristic of schools where students achieve at high levels is their teachers' frequent use of formative assessments? The teaching focus of this course is assessment for the purpose of helping us make instructional decisions that promote learning.

How do we figure out how our students' science ideas and understanding of concepts are developing? We can draw on research findings about how people learn. We can broaden our vision of formative assessment. We can hone our skills for probing students' scientific ideas and thinking. We can add to our toolbox of strategies for moving learning forward. These aspects of formative assessment are highlighted in this course.

You will document your assessment practices by "taking stock" at least three times during the course and use these records to set goals for your teaching.

During sessions 1-4 you'll be immersed in the science of heat and temperature. In session 5, pedagogy comes alive as you turn your attention to the classroom!

Teaching Overview

The teaching strand addresses formative assessment, that is, classroom assessments that inform instruction. In their study of assessment participants (a) develop skills for eliciting and interpreting scientific ideas held by students; (b) become familiar with research about children's science ideas; and (c) consider possible strategies to encourage further development of students' scientific understanding in an everyday classroom environment. During the course participants maintain a log documenting the evolution of their classroom assessment practices and understanding of assessment for learning. Based on their learning, participants set goals for incorporating new formative assessment strategies into their teaching.

Science Overview

Heat is all around us and is important on all scales, from the human body to the kitchen and the house, from local weather to the global environment. This course will focus on a wide range of phenomena involving heat, temperature, and matter and how these phenomena can best be understood in terms of both macroscopic and microscopic theories.

Heat and temperature are often confused with each other, and in this course participants work to disentangle these related but fundamentally different concepts. They use probes to measure temperature change as they explore heat transfer in the environment around them. They use computer software to explore and explain thermal phenomena using a particulate theory of matter that depends on thinking of matter as composed of microscopic atoms and molecules. The temperature data and the computer modeling tool are used to untangle the contribution of different modes of heat transfer and to clarify the conceptual distinction between heat and temperature.

Science Skills and Concepts

Investigation Skills

Concepts

  • Collect and interpret temperature data

  • Generate explanations using continuous and particulate models

  • Use symbols and units to describe data

  • Create graphs to interpret data

  • Define a system of study

  • Heat transfer by conduction

  • Heat transfer by convection

  • Heat transfer by radiation

  • Temperature

  • Thermal equilibrium

  • Specific heat capacity

  • Evaporative cooling

  • Temperature/pressure/volume relations for gas

Course Outline

Session 1: What is room temperature?

Participants explore the range of temperatures in their kitchen and beyond. They use temperature probes to investigate variation in temperature and use software to explore temperature variation on a particle scale. In a thought experiment, participants apply their initial understanding of heat transfer and temperature change to consider the fastest way to cool two cases of soda.

Readings

  • Hewitt, pp 290-292 (all Hewitt readings are from Conceptual Physics, tenth edition)

Session 2: Why do things end up at room temperature?

Participants investigate temperature change over time and thermal equilibration in an investigation of cooling coffee. They use probes to record temperature data and they analyze curves showing change of temperature over time. Participants use computer software to explore the same phenomena microscopically, and begin to develop definitions of heat and temperature.

Readings

  • Hewitt, pp 292-294, p 316-317.

  • Schwartz, Judah. "Using Molecular Workbench: Some thoughts on models and simulations and their uses"

Session 3: How is heat transferred by convection?

Participants explore heat transfer by convection, analyzing a time-lapse video of a melting ice cube in a glass of water. They plan and carry out an investigation to examine the effect of three different ways to use convection to cool a hot drink.

Readings

  • Hewitt, pp 308-310 (Chapter 16)

Session 4: How is heat transferred by conduction?

Participants explore thermal conduction, considering physical models and particle models. They investigate the effect of different shapes and different materials on heat transfer by conduction in solid objects. They consider systems where heat is transferred by both conduction and convection and sort out examples of heat transfer by conduction and convection in their lives.

Readings

  • Hewitt, pp 306-308

Session 5:  What does it mean to understand?

Participants use case studies to explore what it means for learners to understand a science concept. How does scientific understanding develop? How can teachers take note that ideas are developing? And how might teachers support the development of understanding?

Participants track the development of their own understanding of a heat and temperature concept and identify the factors that might have influenced the development of more complete or deeper understanding. They become familiar with research about how people learn and about children's preexisting ideas about major science topics. In the classroom, they explore their students' responses to the questions How do you know if you understand? and What do you do when you are confused?

Readings

  • Bransford, J., Brown, A. & Cocking, R. (Eds.) (1999). Chapter 1 in How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D.C.: The National Academy of Sciences. (pdf)

  • Harlen, W (2001). Primary science: Taking the plunge, (second edition). Ch. 5, pp.48-57

Session 6: What is formative assessment?

Participants use a classroom case study to highlight the characteristics of formative assessment. They are introduced to Harlen's theoretical model of a formative assessment cycle in the classroom. They connect the theoretical to the classroom by using the model to analyze a formative assessment experience from their teaching.

Readings

  • Harlen, Chapter 8

Session 7:  How can I probe children's thinking?

Participants use a case study to develop their questioning and listening skills that are essential for formative assessment. They analyze an interview with a nine-year old child in terms of the nature of questions that are successful at eliciting information about the child's ideas. They compare this child's ideas with findings from research. Finally, they prepare to conduct their own classroom research by interviewing a child in order to reveal his or her ideas about heat and temperature.

Readings

  • Erickson, G. (1985). "An Overview of Pupil's Ideas," in Driver, R., Children's ideas in science, pp. 105-123. Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press. (pdf)

Session 8: How is heat transferred by radiation?

Participants are introduced to heat transfer by radiation. How does the sun's energy get to us across nearly a hundred million miles in spite of the fact there is essentially no matter between the sun and Earth to conduct or convect energy? They investigate temperature increases and decreases due to radiation. They consider evidence of radiation in their lives and they discuss how this differs from heat transfer by conduction and convection.

Readings

  • Hewitt, pp 310-316, 320

  • Reading on radiation and electromagnetic phenomena.

Session 9: What about evaporative cooling?

Participants investigate how the energy in a system changes when phase change occurs. They investigate evaporative cooling. They consider systems where evaporative cooling is accompanied by heat transfer by conduction, convection, and radiation and sort out examples of heat transfer in their lives.

Readings

  • Hewitt, pp 325-337 (Chapter 17)

Session 10:  What is a material's heat capacity?

Participants explore the specific heat capacity of everyday things. They investigate how the temperature of different types and amounts of material changes when the same amount of energy is transferred.

Readings

  • Hewitt, pp 294-296

  • Tobin, Roger. "Specific Heat Capacity at the Molecular Level"

Session 11: Heat and temperature everywhere

In the final science investigation, participants explore temperature change in a new context: What happens to air when the temperature changes? They explore the relation between pressure, volume, and temperature in a gas on both a macroscopic and a particle scale. Then, they take stock of their current thinking about heat and temperature in a reflection about temperature and heat transfer in their lives. Finally, participants conclude their science investigations by revisiting the initial thought experiment about cooling warm soda and reflect on their learning in the course.

Readings

  • None

Session 12: How do I make sense of the evidence?

In this session, participants focus on the stage in the formative assessment cycle where teachers make sense of the evidence they collect. They use a transcript of the heat and temperature interview they conducted to critique the questions they asked and to make judgments about the ideas the child holds about heat and temperature and how these ideas "fit" with what they know about how children typically think about heat and temperature.

Readings

  • Harlen, pp. 123-129

Session 13: Is work with one child transferable to the whole class?

In their work this week, participants turn their attention to actions teachers can take in response to formative assessment in order to help students take the next steps in their learning. Participants prepare to develop some new formative assessment strategies, by working with classroom snapshots, or mini-cases. They use a self-assessment tool to set goals to incorporate formative assessment into their teaching.

Readings

  • Harlen, Chapter 11

Major Course Assignments

How Course Participants Will Be Evaluated

Evaluation will be based on active participation in online forums, increased understanding of science as evidenced in investigations and thought experiments and their corresponding discussions, and transfer of formative assessment practices to the classroom as evidenced by an assessment log maintained throughout the term.

  • Evidence of active participation in online forums: Does the participant contribute actively in class discussions? Does the participant become engaged in his or her own learning? Does the participant take intellectual risk, e.g., "put ideas on the table" and ask questions? Is there evidence that the participant works collaboratively with colleagues and contributes to colleagues' learning?

  • Evidence of increased understanding of science: Is there evidence that the course participant is taking a scientific stance? Does the participant use evidence and models to support his or her science ideas? Is there evidence of increased understanding of core science concepts?

  • Evidence of transfer of assessment practices to the classroom: Is there evidence that the course participant is successfully implementing ideas from the course in the classroom? Is the participant embedding formative assessments practices in inquiry-based experiences to further students' learning?

Time Expectation

Participants are expected to spend 6-9 hours each week on coursework. Time guidelines are posted as part of each week's assignment.

How do participants know how they are doing

Opportunities for self-assessment are built into the course. These are for participants to use to evaluate their own work on an ongoing basis. In addition, participants "meet" with the facilitator (via phone or in person) once prior to Session 6 of the course. The purpose of this meeting is for individual feedback and guidance on their work. Participants are expected to initiate the meeting. The facilitator will contact any participant who fails to meet the expected posting requirements within the week.

The following chart provides specific information for course participants about assignments and expectations.

% of Grade

Assignment

30%

Discussion Forums: Contribute to the discussion forums each week. This involves: 1) reporting on your investigations, readings, and other assignments, and 2) responding to two or three colleagues. Post a minimum of 4-6 substantive messages each week, and read all messages posted by your study group.

Criterion for Success: A consistent record of timely postings each week, resulting in a body of messages that are concise, supportive of group inquiry, and further the conversation about the course content.

Purpose: To build scientific explanations and understandings; to reflect on course experiences and consider implications for classroom teaching; to be part of a professional community of learning beyond your own school; and to be "present" in class.

30%

Investigation Sequence and Thought Experiments: Plan and carry out a series of investigations and thought experiments about heat transfer, using first-hand evidence and models to generate explanations of everyday phenomena. Share and interpret results with colleagues.

Evidence that you are developing understanding of core science concepts by:

  • Supporting predictions with explanations;

  • Making detailed observations and keeping detailed records of what happens;

  • Defining the system of study;

  • Collecting and interpreting data;

  • Using models to generate explanations;

  • Supporting explanations with evidence;

  • Considering multiple explanations;

  • Retesting to verify results;

  • Asking new questions of the phenomena and testing some of these;

  • Reflecting on your learning in relation to modes of heat transfer; and

  • Rethinking ideas based on your group's evidence and discussions.

Purpose: To experience science inquiry; and to develop your own understanding of core science concepts through investigation and work with models.

25%

Heat and Temperature Interview: Plan and carry out an interview with a child based on your course experiences. Present evidence that you were successful listening to children and their ideas.

Criteria for Success:

  • A heat and temperature concept specified

  • Questions carefully crafted to glean information about the child's scientific ideas

  • Evidence that you are listening carefully

  • Evidence that you are not influencing the child's thinking

  • Analysis based on evidence from the interview

  • Evidence that you are left with further questions about the child's ideas.

Purpose: Demonstrate that you can use the science you've learned in the course and new interviewing strategies to determine a child's scientific ideas about heat and temperature.

15%

Course Journal and Assessment Log: Keep a journal in which you record investigation procedures, working notes, sketches, results, and reflections.Throughout the course, you will be asked to refer to your journal to complete assignments.

Criterion for Success: A consistent record of detailed, reflective, and evidence-based entries.

Purpose: To create a record of your scientific ideas as they evolve and your assessment practices in the classroom.

Materials in the Course Science Kit

  • 1 100 Watt light bulb

  • 1 Clamp Light

  • 2 Go! Temp Probes and software

  • 1 silicon-tipped tong

  • 2 stainless steel clips

  • 4 Foam coffee cups 12 oz.

  • 8 metal-backed thermometers

  • 1 bag of sand (200 grams)

  • 1 16 oz. foam cup

Bibliography

Bransford, J., Brown, A. & Cocking, R. (Eds.) (1999). Chapter 1 in How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D.C.: The National Academy of Sciences.

Erickson, G. (1985). "An Overview of Pupil's Ideas," in Driver, R., Children's ideas in science, pp. 105-123. Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press.

Harlen, W (2001). Primary science: Taking the plunge, (second edition). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Harlen, W. (2006).Teaching, learning and assessing science 5-12, (fourth edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

Hewitt, P. (2001). Selected readings from Conceptual Physics, 9th edition. Addison Wesley.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics.
IMAGERS (Interactive multimedia adventures for grade school education: Using remote sensing) "The Infrared."Retrieved May 3rd 2005 from
http://imagers.gsfc.nasa.gov/ems/infrared.html

Nave, C.R. (2005). "Cooling of the human body," Georgia State University. Retrieved May 3rd 2005 from
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html

Schwartz, J. (unpublished). "Using Molecular Workbench: Some thoughts on models and simulations and their uses."

TERC (2005)."A Case of Insulation."

Tobin, Roger. "Specific Heat Capacity at the Molecular Level" 

Requirements

Minimum Computer-related Requirements

  • Windows 98 or higher or Mac OS 10.2 or higher

  • Microsoft Office 2000 or higher (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) software.

  • Internet-connected computer with a CD-ROM or DVD drive, and sound card.

  • E-mail account.

  • Internet access. If possible, broadband (e.g., cable) access.

  • Internet Explorer 5.2 for Mac, 5.5 for Windows or higher, Netscape 7.1 or higher, or Safari (Mac), Firefox, or Mozilla. Opera and Camino are not supported by Blackboard. The AOL web browser is also not supported. If you use an Internet Service Provider such as AOL, download an internet browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.) and install it. Once you have logged into AOL, you can open the browser to use for surfing the web.

  • Browser Plug-ins: Quicktime, Flash, Shockwave, Acrobat Reader (a PDF viewer). Your web browser should be Java enabled, and have the security settings set to accept cookies.

Other Requirements

  • Access to several children at the grade level you teach, preferably in a classroom setting.

  • Science Kit with general science equipment needed for the course. (Participants should receive this no later than Thursday of Week Zero. If the kit is not received, instructors should be contacted.)

  • Technology Resources:

    • Molecular Workbench, Concord Consortium, Concord, MA

    • Vernier Go! Temp, Vernier Software & Technology, Beaverton, OR, info@vernier.com

Instructor

This course is taught by a facilitator who guides participants in their acquisition of key science content, skills, and values and supports participants as they consider assessment strategies for furthering students' science learning.

Note: Instructors will refer to themselves as facilitators in the online environment rather than instructors to model effective facilitation strategies for the classroom.

Major Course Assignments

How Course Participants Will Be Evaluated

Evaluation will be based on active participation in online forums, increased understanding of science as evidenced in investigations and thought experiments and their corresponding discussions, and transfer of formative assessment practices to the classroom as evidenced by an assessment log maintained throughout the term.

  1. Evidence of active participation in online forums: Does the participant contribute actively in class discussions? Does the participant become engaged in his or her own learning? Does the participant take intellectual risk, e.g., "put ideas on the table" and ask questions? Is there evidence that the participant works collaboratively with colleagues and contributes to colleagues' learning?

  2. Evidence of increased understanding of science: Is there evidence that the course participant is taking a scientific stance? Does the participant use evidence and models to support his or her science ideas? Is there evidence of increased understanding of core science concepts?

  3. Evidence of transfer of assessment practices to the classroom: Is there evidence that the course participant is successfully implementing ideas from the course in the classroom? Is the participant embedding formative assessments practices in inquiry-based experiences to further students' learning?

Time Expectation

Participants are expected to spend 6-9 hours each week on coursework. Time guidelines are posted as part of each week's assignment.

How do participants know how they are doing

Opportunities for self-assessment are built into the course. These are for participants to use to evaluate their own work on an ongoing basis. In addition, participants "meet" with the facilitator (via phone or in person) once prior to Session 6 of the course. The purpose of this meeting is for individual feedback and guidance on their work. Participants are expected to initiate the meeting. The facilitator will contact any participant who fails to meet the expected posting requirements within the week.

The following chart provides specific information for course participants about assignments and expectations.

Getting Started

Before Session 1, take some time for the following preparations:

  • Read the Syllabus to get an overview of the course.

  • Make sure you can collect temperature data with your temperature probes. See Getting Started with the Vernier Temperature Probes in Science Resources.

  • Make sure you can use Molecular Workbench. See Getting Started with Molecular Workbench in Science Resources.