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teaching insulators through topic - HELP!

Discussion in 'Science' started by Mrsfionaholmes, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    Im an nqt and I have recently moved to a new school so really want a chance to impress. Our science topic this half term is all about 'what keeps us warm' and in particular looking at insulators. I have decided to link this to our topic (spend it save it - economics / money etc) by getting them to create their own product with a budget and then presenting their product to a dragons den panel (who will be my nqt mentor and a past pupil!) the trouble is, im finding it a little difficult to guide my pupils in terms of what they should make / design as their ideas so far have been quite extravagant!! I was wondering if any of you had ideas of products they could make that would be achievable yet impressive?
    I know its a big ask but any reply would be appreciated!!
    F xx
  2. Hi
    YOU know what you are talking about, but I'm afraid I don't. Insulators could be electrical or thermal, so putting that in your title might help a little (clearly from your text, it is thermal. Both should attract physicists, but it's always worth giving detail - consider the word "cell"!)
    The phrase "topic" makes me think you are primary, but there is no evidence to support or refute this.
    There is no indication of time scale or resources available - these can be quite important.
    With a little more info, I for one will try to give a little more help.
  3. physics_suits_u,
    Sorry for the lack of info in my message! Yes im in primary and it is thermal insulators. Basically this topic will end at the end of the half term but the children need to decide on what products they want to make by the end of next week or the following week at the very latest. We have done an experiment on insulators and which is the best one to keep water warmest for the longest time and the results were that cotton wool and fur were the best although tin foil and plastic where a close second. Im really dum when it comes to science and getting it confused with conductors. We were brainstorming products to make today and the ones they have been thinking about are a pillow made from fur with a hot water bottle inside, a teddy bear with a hot water bottle inside, a jumper and a plastic cup with fur on the outside. These are all pretty basic ideas generally using the same materials. I just wanted to know if there were any other materials we could investigate that would make good thermal insulators and also a product which they could easily make to present to the 'dragons den'.

    I hope that makes more sense!! thanks
  4. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    be careful with the tin foil. It may help keep things warm, but not by insulation.
    that may not matter at primary (I don't know) but i'd be a bit annoyed at getting children in secondary who'd been taught that tin foil was a good insulator.
  5. Start them off with a few ideas and materials that they can use. Give them some that clearly wont work together with some that will: newspapers, blankets, egg boxes, silver foil, bubble wrap, plastic bags, old T shirts, old jumpers, old towels.....If you are looking for odd fabrics, you can sometimes get them in charity shops.
    Also give them specific targets eg: the group that can keep 250g of ice cream the coldest for 3 hrs is the winner or the group that can keep 250g water at above 60 degress celcius for 3 hrs (or whatever).
    This will help them focus on what they are trying to do.

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