Teaching Temperature With Project-Based Learningby: David Tumbarello

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In this project-based unit on weather, a fictional director of a Hungarian Wildlife Refuge invites fourth-grade students to determine whether the backyard of their school contained a variety of surface temperature environments that would satisfy the temperature needs of five animals from her refuge—a gazelle, elephant, kangaroo, horse, and penguin. Students eagerly became involved in this problem-based learning scenario, which was far from fictional. The scenario required students to participate in group work in an authentic investigation, to be responsible for their own methodology and data collection, and to be motivated to learn about the heat-preserving properties of various surfaces in the backyard of the school.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:46 PM

This article provides a complete PBL in which a fictional professor writes to teachers in an elementary school and offers to exchange five wild animals (gazelle, elephant, kangaroo, horse, and penguin) from her wildlife refuge if these teachers could assure that each of these animals would receive their required morning and afternoon temperature needs in the school backyard. All aspects of the experience are reported on in this article. This is an excellent example of PBL’s in elementary school.

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

  • on Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:45 PM

In this innovative approach to teaching about temperature, students are contacted by a fictional professor who asks for their help finding a suitable climate for various animals. In this unique approach to learning about temperature, students will not only gain experience in the mechanics of measuring the temperature, but will also learn how temperature variation effects the organisms that can live in a region.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

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