# Three Little Pigs

## Scenario

 Summary Student Pages Rubric Index of Projects

Once Upon a Time..........

at the Oneida Elementary School which sits in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, three teachers decided to try a new approach to their instruction.

Donna Tompkins' 4th grade class of 22 students and Mike Kiernan's 5th grade class of 23 students joined together to work on the project. Barbara Shoemaker, the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative (ARSI) Teacher Partner worked with both classes. ARSI is an organization funded by the National Science Foundation to improve math and science instruction. The students worked on a Straw Bale Wall project. The students were composed of nine groups with two/three 4th graders and two/three 5th graders per group. The groups were divided with gender equity and mixed ability.

On the first day the students met, each group was given a one small jar with cold water and one jar with very hot water. The students put two drops of food coloring in each container of water. The students noticed the food coloring dispersed faster in the hot water. One student asked "WHY?" So the facilitator, Ms. Shoemaker said, "Good question, Why did it travel faster?" After brainstorming ideas, the students decide that the heat made it move faster.

The students were then asked how they could decide if something was heated by just looking at it. They all agreed you could not, you would have to look at a thermometer. The groups then used thermometers to measure a cup of cold tap water, hot tap water, crushed ice and boiling water. The students recorded the temperatures and discussed the differences.

Mrs. Shoemaker said " Now we see a difference in the way things travel through different temperatures, why is this important?" The kids have a variety of answers, all which were written on the board. One group decided that it was important to keep your house warm in the winter. One group thought it was important for athletes who play outside during cold weather.

Mrs. Tompkins pulled out an insulated cooler which had a hole in each end. "Let's put different types of insulation in the middle section of this cooler and see if there is a difference in temperature. I have a light bulb on one side and no heat on the other side". The kids decided to pack the middle with a variety of items: packing peanuts, hay, sticks, cotton balls, fiberglass insulation, paper, soil, and bricks. The students discovered a variety of temperatures for the unheated side. The students recorded all of the data collected.

Now we had a beginning of a conversation with the students for the second day. A question was posed to the students: Why do you need to know about heat, conduction and energy? The students brainstormed different ideas, one of, which was the thought of building materials. Being in a rural area, most of the students had been involved with someone who had built a house or an outside structure. Mr. Kiernan suggested,"Since you have an idea about some of the building materials we use around here, see how many different building materials you can find through out history on the web." The students then broke into their groups and did searches on the Internet on energy and energy transfer. They were given a form to help guide them in their search.

After the search, the students brainstormed within their groups on three of the best materials related to their research. The groups then came back together and reported on their three choices of building materials. One of the choices found on the Internet was for straw. The students were surprised, "Straw is used to bed down animals and used to mulch seeds, not build with!" Mrs. Shoemaker asked the group if there was a difference between straw and hay. A few hands went up. The difference is that straw is bundled wheat, where hay is a combination of grasses. Would it make a difference? Mrs. Tompkins had worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory one summer and suggested we go see a Straw Bale Wall and talk to the scientist about the possibility of building with straw. One of the students shouted "Field Trip!" Before the trip, Mrs. Shoemaker, Mrs. Tompkins and Mr. Kiernan told the students about the programs they had been involved with at ORNL. The students were also informed of the history of Oak Ridge, the energy research being done, and the environmental studies being done. The classes also discussed the history of building with straw and if straw was still used to build with in other countries.

The next week, Barbara Summers set up the clearance for the classes to visit ORNL. Jeff Christian, a scientist at ORNL showed the students a straw bale wall.and the laboratory where test had been conducted on the Straw Bale Walls. Two schools had participated with ORNL on a straw wall project, Green Magnet Math and Science Academy of Knoxville, TN and the International Relations Lyceum No. 51 of Kiev Ukraine. The students found their story interesting and decided to try to build a structure.

The day after the classes returned to Oneida, a discussion of what would be needed to organize a structure took place. It was decided that each group should research Straw Bale Walls and design a plan for building a structure in the spring. While designing their building, they needed to take several different criteria into consideration (size, cost, materials needed, time needed, tools needed, a diagram of the structure, etc...). The next week during the combined class time, each group worked on their research, design and presentation. During this time, the three teachers circulated through the room discovering new information on straw, sharing ideas, discussing questions and helping with the analysis of the data students had gathered. As part of the project, each group devised a plan for collecting data and for comparing data with ORNL after the structure was built.

At the end of the first semester the students made presentations to the group so they could vote on the most reasonable project. The structure selected will be built at the end of the second semester, May of 1999. The Oneida Elementary School will have a Straw Bale Wall Fort for students to use to collect data to compare to ORNL and hopefully other locations through out the world. The Fort will also be fun to use during recess! Science and Math....see how much fun they are!

Assessments were conducted using logs, reports and rubrics. The individual assessments were through the use of logs with URLs, brainstorm ideas, research, reflections, building ideas and plans, and email hardcopies. Group assessments were through reports and presentations. One report per group with a presentation (of individual group's choice) to the group was made. The report/presentation were of research, building plans and explanation of choice. The students set the rubric for the project themselves.

The contents of Physical Science and the topics of Energy/Light/Heat were easily covered with this project. The students recognized that some materials were good conductors of heat and some materials were good insulators of heat. They came to the conclusion that temperature is the measure of the speed of particles. They researched the conduction of heat through different materials with their work on the Internet.

The students used computers, calculators, thermometers, rulers, levels, and various assortment of building tools. The students used technology for: Researching the Internet, Email for communication, Word processing, database, spreadsheets and multimedia presentations for reports. The students also used the laser disk for research. Most of the information on straw bale wall can only be found on the Internet.

The project began the 3rd six weeks when the students combined for their first 50-minute class period, which occurred three times a week. The actual building of the structure was completed the last six weeks of school.

Teachers acted as facilitators, sharing control with the students, experiencing co-learning, interpreting results, motivating and having a blast.

Students were the ones who provided the: investigations, questions, problem solving techniques, cooperative work with other students, hypothesis, prediction, estimation, analyzing ideas, synthesis, data, comparisons of data, engineering plans, creativity, measurement, reports and had a blast.

We would like to acknowledge and thank Barbara Summers and Jeff Christian from Oak Ridge National Laboratory for their expertise and guidance. We would also like to thank the community farmers and local businesses who were a great resource for the students and the building supplies.

Through the visit to Oak Ridge National Lab the students discovered:

1. Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways.

2. Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.

3. Light interacts with matter by transmission (including refraction), absorption, or scattering (including reflection). To see an object, light from that object - emitted by or scattered from it - must enter the eye.

4. Electrical circuits provide a means of transferring electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced.

5. In most chemical and nuclear reactions, energy is transferred into or out of a system. Heat, light, mechanical motion, or electricity might all be involved in such transfers.

6. The sun is a major source of energy for changes on the earth's surface. The sun loses energy by emitting light. A tiny fraction of that light reaches the earth, transferring energy from the sun to the earth. The sun's energy arrives as light with a range of wavelengths, consisting of visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation.

Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Mike Kiernan, Barbara Shoemaker, Donna Tompkins
School: Oneida Elementary, Oneida, Tennessee
Created: November 1, 1998 - Updated: November 1, 1998
URL: /ntep/f98/projects/ornl/scenario.html