Harnessing energy from heat changes to solve a problem - Version 2

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Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education

Text-Based STEM Inquiry

This lesson provides an approach for creating a science investigation that includes reading-focused inquiry to build student science literacy skills. The template was created to support library media specialists and STEM teacher cohorts in year two of the School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning project, led by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management (ISKME) in partnership with Granite State University, New Hampshire, and funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Part I: Unit Title:

Harnessing energy from heat changes to solve a problem

Part II: Background on LMS, Literacy Coach, and Science Teacher relationship :

This lesson was created by Library Media Specialist (Katie Gadwah), Literacy Coach (Kelley Joseph), Chemistry teacher (Jill Zaffers), and Earth Science teacher (Kevin Munroe). Katie’s strengths were identified as resource identification and evaluation, information literacy, technology integration, and subject area research. Kelley’s strengths were identified as annotating text, academic vocabulary, asking questions, note taking, and organization of information. Jill and Kevin’s strengths were identified as science content knowledge, unit planning, competency standards, and breakdown of student learning objectives.  They requested to see Kelley model text dependent questioning, annotation, and engaging students with text. They requested to see Katie model independent student research. Katie and Kelley requested to see Kevin and Jill model science lab inquiry.

Part III: Unit Description:

This unit includes _5__ lessons that culminate in students applying their understanding of how heat energy changes can be used to solve a problem through a visual and oral  presentation.

Using inquiry-focused reading, students will explore an anchor text and supporting resources to investigate the principles of transfer of heat energy with applications of the concept to solve real world problems.

The instructors will prepare a sample presentation and model for students the steps taken to go from a text to the final project. Students will learn annotations, two column notes, and citations, while learning about how chemistry is used to solve real world problems based on the instructor provided materials. The students will then apply those concepts to a different project assigned by the instructors and apply the same strategies to their own texts to demonstrate their application of learning to a different problem.

Over the course of the unit, students will explore a variety of resources to develop their knowledge of heat energy changes that accompany physical and chemical reactions, measurement of heat energy, and heat energy transfer between the system and the surroundings. They will expand their ability to use informational text to support their inquiry and research, explore scientific literature, and develop questions to determine how the application of energy transfer principles can be applied to solve real world problems.

Part IV: Standards Addressed:

JSR Chemistry Course  Competency  3:  I  can  calculate  the  heat  and  energy  of  a  system using  the  laws  of  thermodynamics to describe the essential role of energy and explain and predict the direction of  changes in matter.

Learning Target 3.1  I can use thermochemical equations to show that heat energy is released or  absorbed in physical and chemical reactions

Learning Target 3.2  I can distinguish between heat and temperature to solve problems involving  heat flow and temperature changes using calorimetry and q=mCpT

CCSS Science Literacy Standards:


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.

Part V: Unit Essential Question

How can energy be captured, measured, and applied to solve a real world problem?

Part VI: Goals for Using Inquiry:

The goal for using inquiry in this unit is to have students be able to understand and apply, determine, and support with evidence, how a scientific principle is at work when examining novel solutions to real world problems. The science teacher, literacy coach, and library media specialist have collaborated to select an anchor text which is a discussion of using a physical change to solve a real world problem. Supporting texts will expand on that knowledge and include visual representations of the principle and a real life setting using transfer of energy in either chemical and physical reactions to solve a problem. Students will be supported in the choice of an evaluated text to determine the application of the concept to other situations. Students may also be asked to apply this learning by suggesting or designing a novel solution to a problem using this principle.

Part VII: Summative Assessment Description and Rubric

Students will demonstrate their mastery with a visual representation and oral presentation of a real world application of heat energy transfer, which is supported with evidence from evaluated resources. This visual representation will address the (1) scientific concept at work, (2) an overview of the product, and (3) a discussion of how it solves the problem based on this rubric. Students will be expected to be able to discuss and answer questions posed by peers and instructors in a gallery walk forum.

Part VIII: Prior Knowledge Needed

  • Students should have knowledge of text annotation strategies.
  • Students should have knowledge of text structure features specific to Science.
  • Students should have knowledge of how to locate and evaluate credible sources.
  • Students should have knowledge of EasyBib and creating citations using APA format.
  • Students should have knowledge of using Google Advanced Search to find “free to use and share” images.
  • Students should have knowledge of energy transfer as presented in class lab activity.
  • Students should have knowledge of appropriate lab safety and tools for measuring volume and mass.
  • Students should be able to perform mathematical calculations using variables.
  • Students should have knowledge of basic chemical principles and formulas.
  • Students should have knowledge of definitions and distinguish between temperature and heat.

Part IX: Student Learning Objectives

  • The students will define and distinguish between temperature and heat when solving calorimetry problems through pair-share discussions.
  • The students will be able to interpret energy profile diagrams and identify positive and negative enthalpy by performing a calorimetry lab.
  • The students will be able to use text to discern between the system and its surroundings in an accompanying graphic by annotating texts and comparing details from the text with a graphic.
  • The students will measure and calculate heat changes of physical and chemical reactions by using calorimetry and the q= mCT equation.
  • The students will be able to identify and use the symbols in thermochemical equations to represent a physical or chemical change by annotating the text during the reading.
  • The students will be able to apply the first law of thermodynamics by harnessing an  energy transfer to solve a real world problem after reading and annotating an article about this practice.
  • The students will be able to demonstrate knowledge by writing a concise summary of a complex idea to display in a poster format and gallery walk by the specific details and main ideas of the texts that are read.
  • The students will be able to ethically use and document resources evidenced by creating a bibliography in APA format for the project.

Part X: Text Set Description

Text Title & Hyperlink

Text Purpose

Text-Dependent Questions 

Accommodations for Diverse Learners

Zeer Pot

Refrigeration the African Way

This is our Anchor Text, designed to provide science content while provoking student engagement around the essential question.

Text complexity analysis of Anchor and Supporting Text

1. What issue did the author seek to address?

2. What is the author’s primary claim?

3. What specific evidence does the author provide that supports the primary claim?

4. Which piece of evidence in the article best supports the author’s primary claim? Explain.

1. Annotations will include unknown words and time will be given for student to use a resource to define those words (peers, dictionary, teacher)

2. Specific chunks will be chosen ahead to support students in breaking the reading down into manageable sections.

Video demonstration of Zeerpot

Offering a video provides support for text based lesson.

1. Does this video provide evidence that supports or contradicts information in the anchor text? How?

2. Which data is most effective at communicating the efficiency of the cooling ?

Alternative information formats for diverse learning styles

Zeer Pot Refrigeration

Text complexity analysis of Anchor and Supporting Text

1. Does this video provide evidence that supports or contradicts information in the anchor text? How?

2. Which data is most effective at communicating the efficiency of the cooling ?

Provide modeling and mini lessons on annotations and taking 2 column notes.

Part XI: Suggested Lesson Breakdown/Pacing

See our timeline here


Student Learning Objectives

Aligned Student Learning Task and Suggested Timing

Formative Assessment

Important Accommodations

Day 1

one (90 minute) block

Introduce Essential Question

Students do a think-pair-share to investigate the essential question, “How can energy transfer be captured and  used to solve a real world problem?” .

Show Piktochart exemplar, introduce rubric and anchor text. Review vocabulary.

Model annotation and two column notes on anchor text.

Students read and annotated articles independently during class.

Students will discuss the essential question in small groups and with the class to try to generate possible answers to the question.

Students were directed to turn and talk when the essential question was asked to the entire class. Three teachers were present and walking around to observe the ideas that students were sharing that they got during reading with the essential question.

The (teacher/LMS/ Literacy coach) will provide the article ahead of time to students with high need.

Day 2

one block

TSWBAT define and distinguish between temperature and heat by solving calorimetry problems

Students practiced calorimetry calculations and making energy profile diagrams. (homework)

Students will perform  lab stations and be assigned a related article (varying labs and article topics) which demonstrates using energy transfer to solve a problem.

Day 3

one block

Students will wrap up lab with discussion of how the lab relates to the assigned article and what problem could be solved through the chemical process.

Wrap up lab, then students will be introduced to Piktochart and review the rubric.

The (teacher/LMS/Coach) will monitor students as they read independently to observe the number and quality  of annotations made.

Lab activity will close by revisiting the essential question,  “How can energy be captured and used to solve a real world problem?” . Synthesis of lab and article.

Allow extra time

Provide examples for students to make connections to (for those with limited experiences)

Days 4-5

two blocks

TSWBAT students will be able to identify and use the symbols in thermochemical equations to represent a physical or chemical change

TSWBAT measure and calculate heat changes of physical and chemical reactions using calorimetry and q= mCT

TSWBAT apply the first law of thermodynamics by harnessing an  energy transfer to solve a real world problem after reading and annotating an article about this practice.

TSWBAT create a concise summary of a complex idea with a poster and gallery walk.

TSWBAT ethically use and document resources used in the project

TSWBAT use text to discern between the system and its surroundings in an accompanying graphic

TSWBAT interpret energy profile diagrams  and identify positive and negative enthalpy

Students will begin project by answering rubric questions and creating a visual discussion of their topic with Piktochart. Final projects will be reviewed and suggestions made to emphasize student analysis.

The (teacher/LMS/ Literacy coach) will monitor progress to see if certain areas of the assignment are confusing. The instructors will ask probing questions such as, “What is the problem the product was designed to solve?”, “What would be alternative solutions if this product were not available?” , “In what other situations would this product be useful?” and “How does this product you are reading about relate to the lab you did yesterday” to guide students to think more deeply about their topic and to answer the questions fully.

LMS will provide overview of Google Advanced Search features and proper citation.

Part XII: Attachment  of Student Work Examples


Part XIII: Teacher and Librarian Reflection on the Implementation of the Lesson

Librarian Reflections: As with most things in education, time was a huge factor for us: time for planning, time for teaching, time for assessing student work. We set aside, and committed to, meeting for about an hour each week to plan. At first our focus was too broad but once we narrowed our subject, we came together nicely. I think we had to cut the scope of the project to realistically fit it into the time we had allotted. I felt we were a well balanced team, each respectful of the other’s expertise, and worked together well.

Ideally, we would have had more time built in for the students to ask and discuss more questions and do some independent research to find their answers. In the end, the unit progressed pretty quickly without that time built in for students to do deeper inquiry. One of the nice observations I made was how on track the student conversations were when working on their projects in the library. They asked good questions of each other and of me. Some of the questions were around determining better keywords for locating appropriate information and images, or on the details of formatting citations in APA format. Others were brainstorming between classmates about alternative and novel uses for their assigned topics. It was interesting to see how much trouble the students had trying to imagine a world without the products we were studying, like an instant ice pack.  I felt the projects were good but it was apparent that some of the learning was not as independently driven as we had hoped. We had also hoped to have time for a student survey on their perceptions of the value of the team teaching model.

Teacher Reflection: As Katie Gadwah has mentioned, the time frame for putting the unit together was logistically difficult, but as the science teacher, the timeframe for students to really dig into the concepts was even more apparent. If I were to repeat this lesson (which I absolutely would if I were teaching chemistry this year) I would build in another double block class to allow students to better connect the lab work, and math with the content in the readings. I would also allow time for feedback on their final projects so they could address what they were missing. It would also be ideal to have an art teacher come in and guide the students through a lesson about what makes a good visual presentation. I will share this lesson with those teaching chemistry this year. The project includes many of the concepts taught throughout the year and makes a good culminating project.

Literacy Coach Reflection: I really enjoyed collaborating with Katie and Jill. As a Literacy Coach part of my role is to model and co-plan with content teachers. This project allowed me to dig a bit deeper into aligning standards and objectives to the actual lesson. In reflecting on the whole process I feel that we definitely needed more time with students and their processes for learning the content. I taught a mini-lesson on annotating and using two column notes as a strategy to help with comprehension during their reading. I don’t feel we had enough time for students to experience the value of this, but I feel that it was a model for Jill and Katie as well. Therefore, it is something that I can refer to when working with Jill on lessons and instruction in the future.

Another aspect that I would change for next time is the questioning process. Students needed more opportunities to connect their own questions and discoveries to the essential question that we posed at the beginning of our project. Questioning is another way to increase opportunities to process information in a different way for students and it is a comprehension strategy that deepens levels of thinking. Assessing this would have to be integrated into our lesson so that we could analyze where our students are at with the skill of generating questions. I also believe that the more practice we give our students with questioning teachers become better at asking more higher level, conceptual-based questions.

Lastly, I would ask students to complete a self-assessment and a survey about the project. Our goal with this lesson was to provide students with the opportunity to connect Science to their world and teach  them new concepts to add to their schema. Student feedback and immediate teacher feedback is one of the most effective influences on student achievement. (Hattie ).

School Librarians Advancing STEM Learning, Granite State University, Concord, NH, February 2016. Funding provided by IMLS.

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