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.
Middle school students, as scientists, investigate particle motion and forces to answer the following driving question: How is energy transferred to the gas particles during ignition? Students are continuing to investigate the phenomenon of the successful model rocket launch from lesson one. Students watch a video and analyze diagrams to collect information about what is happening inside the engine of the model rocket during ignition. Students identify evidence of energy in the video and consider if a chemical reaction has happened. To gain more information about the connection between chemical reactions and energy, students observe three chemical reactions and measure temperature change. Students use this information to revise their models showing the transfer of energy in the model rocket system.
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Per Small Group (2 to 4 students)
If Chemical Reaction 1 is done by groups
Chemical Reaction 1
Chemical Reaction 2
If Chemical Reaction 1 is done as a demonstration.
Chemical Reaction 1
Chemical Reaction 3
This lesson is one of seven lessons in the Model Rocket Safety Storyline Unit. Storylines start with an anchoring phenomenon that raises questions or introduces a problem. Each step in a storyline unit is then driven by students’ questions that arise from the phenomenon.
In this case, the anchoring phenomena are successful and unsuccessful model rocket flights. The first day of the unit allows students to consider what they do and don't know about model rockets and what they want to find out. This gives them a reason to investigate the science ideas that explain model rocket launches, flight, and landings. In doing so, they will make sense of Disciplinary Core Ideas related to physics, chemistry, and engineering.