Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.
High school students, as scientists, use science ideas about human impacts on Earth’s systems to answer the following driving question: How does where you live affect your risk of heat-wave-related death? Students analyze data about heat-wave related death rates in the United States, pose questions, and decide to investigate why cities have higher heat-wave death rates than rural or suburban areas. Students obtain and evaluate information and analyze data about the urban heat island effect. Students then use a graphic organizer to organize their thinking about the disparity in the heat-wave death rate between urban areas and suburban areas. Students use this information, as well as their understanding of social and cultural impacts, to select and research a heat-wave mitigation strategy. Students also outline a test they would use to determine if their mitigation plan reduces heat-related deaths.
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Per Small Group (2 to 4 students)
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