AACT Science Coaches

IR camera image of student and beaker at lab counter

This past school year, I had the opportunity to participate in the AACT Science Coaches program. When I applied for the program, I expected to be partnered with a professor, probably someone who had been in academia for quite awhile. I thought that this person could share their research with my students and maybe help me with some content questions. I was excited for the opportunity but I never thought my science coach would be interested in developing and executing lessons with me. Luckily for me, my experience ended up being nothing like what I expected.

I was paired with a PhD student from my alma mater who is part of lab in the photochemical sciences department. I soon found out that Travis, my science coach, was considering teaching high school science and he helped develop labs for the undergraduate chemistry courses at his university. Travis’ lab specifically worked with that attach to smartphones. 

The first time we met, Travis brought his IR cameras and some props to show me what they could do. I knew that these tools would fit perfectly with the insulator challenge I give my freshmen in our thermal energy unit. In the past, students were challenged to build an insulator to keep a beaker of hot water warm. Students loved the activity and came up with very creative solutions but it was not very data driven. Travis and the IR cameras completely changed that. 

The insulator project started with Travis coming into my classroom for a day and teaching my freshmen about infrared radiation. This was perfect because waves are in the state standards for this class. Travis showed students how IR waves can be transmitted, blocked and reflected and even brought his invisibility cloak (space blanket) with him! In the photo below, you can see we were able to cast the screen from FLIR app to the CleverTouch board so the class could see the student behind the space blanket has become “invisible” and the student behind the trash bag is not (see figure 1). 

Figure 1: The Invisibility Blanket

After students were given an introduction to waves and IR cameras, they got to try them out themselves! We gave each team a beaker of hot water and access to all of the available insulator building materials. The students’ job for the rest of the class period was to collect data on how well each material blocked, transmitted or reflected infrared radiation using the IR cameras. These data would then drive their insulator building the next day. In the picture below, you can see the outline of a piece of material a student is holding up to their beaker of hot water. The material transmits infrared radiation. You can also see the reflection of the beaker on the black lab bench (see figure 2).

Figure 2: Observing and analyzing efficiency of insulating materials using an IR camera

Travis came back the next day and helped students build their insulators and evaluate their insulator effectiveness with the IR cameras. Students built their insulators, recorded the initial temperature of their water and took a starting picture with their IR cameras. Students took a few more pictures in between and then a final picture at the end with their final temperature reading. From the IR camera pictures, students were able to evaluate where heat was escaping from their insulators and reflect on what they could do better next time. In the pictures below, you can see this insulator was losing heat through the top (see figure 3 & 4). 

    

Figure 3 & 4: Testing student made insulators using IR camera

Thanks to this partnership with my science coach, my freshmen scientists were able to use technology to solve real world problems that they otherwise would not have had access to. I am very grateful for the partnership AACT provided me with my science coach and I encourage you to apply to the program!

You can learn more about the program The deadline to apply for Science Coaches for the 2019–2020 school year is September 1, 2019. There is an on May 9 if you are interested in learning more.

 

Concepts: 

Safety

General Safety

Please refer to the ACS . Some additional information on these guidelines can be found in a .

Safety resources

: Recognize hazards; Assess the risks of hazards; Minimize the risks of hazards; Prepare for emergencies

 

NGSS

Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data.

Summary:

Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

Assessment Boundary:
Clarification:

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Summary:

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Assessment Boundary:
Clarification:

Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models.

Summary:

Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models. Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly.

Assessment Boundary:
Clarification:

Students who demonstrate understanding can develop a model to illustrate that the release or absorption of energy from a chemical reaction system depends upon the changes in total bond energy.

*More information about all DCI for HS-PS1 can be found at  and further resources at .

Summary:

Students who demonstrate understanding can develop a model to illustrate that the release or absorption of energy from a chemical reaction system depends upon the changes in total bond energy.

Assessment Boundary:

Assessment does not include calculating the total bond energy changes during a chemical reaction from the bond energies of reactants and products.

Clarification:

Emphasis is on the idea that a chemical reaction is a system that affects the energy change. Examples of models could include molecular-level drawings and diagrams of reactions, graphs showing the relative energies of reactants and products, and representations showing energy is conserved.

Students who demonstrate understanding can create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.

*More information about all DCI for HS-PS3 can be found at 

Summary:

Students who demonstrate understanding can create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.

Assessment Boundary:

Assessment is limited to basic algebraic expressions or computations; to systems of two or three components; and to thermal energy, kinetic energy, and/or the energies in gravitational, magnetic, or electric fields.

Clarification:

Emphasis is on explaining the meaning of mathematical expressions used in the model. 

Students who demonstrate understanding can plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics). 

*More information about all DCI for HS-PS3 can be found at 

 

Summary:

Students who demonstrate understanding can plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics).

Assessment Boundary:

Assessment is limited to investigations based on materials and tools provided to students.

Clarification:

Emphasis is on analyzing data from student investigations and using mathematical thinking to describe the energy changes both quantitatively and conceptually. Examples of investigations could include mixing liquids at different initial temperatures or adding objects at different temperatures to water.

Students who demonstrate understanding can evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.

*More information about all DCI for HS-PS4 can be found at .

Summary:

Students who demonstrate understanding can evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.

Assessment Boundary:

Assessment does not include using quantum theory.

Clarification:

Emphasis is on how the experimental evidence supports the claim and how a theory is generally modified in light of new evidence. Examples of a phenomenon could include resonance, interference, diffraction, and photoelectric effect.