Potato Problem Solvingby: Sarah J. Carrier and Annie Thomas

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

“Watch out, the stove will burn you,” “Ooh, ice cream headache!” Students construct their conceptions about heat and temperature through their own intuitions about daily life experiences. As a result, misconceptions can be born from these constructed concepts. The activity described here addresses student misconceptions about thermal insulation and challenges them to design a structure with good insulation properties. The project provides opportunities to problem solve through the 5E learning model (Bybee 1997) which includes: exploration, investigation, design, structural analysis, synthesis, and revision.

Grades
  • Elementary
Publication Date
3/1/2010

Community ActivitySaved in 252 Libraries

Reviews (5)
  • on Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:57 PM

The authors provide a thorough description of a hands-on project following the 5-E model that teaches students about thermal insulation, measurement, the design process, and the experimental process. The article includes a sequence of activities, materials, safety recommendations, and adaptations. I'm ready to give this activity a go.

Eric Roth  (Austin, TX)
Eric Roth (Austin, TX)

  • on Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:51 PM

It is interesting to see how kids can grow and approach different kinds of challenges. The 5E model that takes them through an entire process of research, design, experimentation, redesign and final conclusion. It is a holistic way of learning and directed toward working around your understanding and how you grow and change your point of view. I would love to do this as much as possible with my own students. Thos might be a lesson plan I might need to incorporate as a review later on.

Angel Pratts Mendoza
Angel Pratts Mendoza

  • on Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:51 PM

It is interesting to see how kids can grow and approach different kinds of challenges. The 5E model that takes them through an entire process of research, design, experimentation, redesign and final conclusion. It is a holistic way of learning and directed toward working around your understanding and how you grow and change your point of view. I would love to do this as much as possible with my own students. Thos might be a lesson plan I might need to incorporate as a review later on.

Angel Pratts Mendoza
Angel Pratts Mendoza

  • on Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:26 PM

This article provides a complete 5E Learning Lesson for elementary students about the properties of matter and more specifically about thermal insulation. Instead of being the standard 5E model this one is more like an engineering design approach where student design, test and revise what they do based on what they learned through experimentation. The author also addresses aspects of student diversity in terms of abilities. This is a great activity and great model for good science.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu May 10, 2012 3:06 PM

In this article, the author introduces an outstanding lesson that enables students to learn through experiencing science. In this lesson, students develop a box to protect potatoes from freezing. I really like how this lesson incorporates science, math, and experimental design. I look forward to trying a lesson similar to this with my students soon!

Maureen Stover  (Fayetteville, NC)
Maureen Stover (Fayetteville, NC)


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