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A Mathematical Approach to Designing Insulators

A Mathematical Approach to Designing Insulators
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Author(s): Kathryn Electa Pedings-Behling (College of Charleston, USA)
Copyright: 2020
Pages: 14
Source title: Cases on Models and Methods for STEAM Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Judith Ann Bazler (Monmouth University, USA) and Meta Lee Van Sickle (College of Charleston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9631-8.ch011


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How do we keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold? Companies such as Tervis, YETI, and Thermos spend their time researching and designing products around that very question. In this lesson, students will discover, through mathematical modeling, which materials provide the best insulation and be tasked with designing their own insulator. This lesson has been designed at two different levels for students from grade three through high school with an optional extension activity for more advanced students. Students will use technology to explore the rate of change of the temperature of hot water over two minutes using different insulation materials. After this exploration, students will use the data they have collected to determine the best materials for designing their own insulator. This insulator will then be judged based on the ability to keep a hot drink hot and on the aesthetic value.

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