# Fall 2009 Day 11

Day 11 Topics

Fall 2009: Day 11
Written by: Katie Kizer

In class, all of the students discussed what they have been seeing in the sky. They noted that they had seen different shapes of the moon, and different angles between the sun and the moon, and at different times they had seen the moon. To make sense of all of this, as a class, we made a moon chart that put everything into perspective. We started off by drawing pictures of what the moon looked like during each phase. Next, we drew in the angles we saw between the sun and the moon at each phase. Those were the easy parts. The hard parts were establishing the rising, high in the sky, and setting times for the moon. For a solid picture, we used the first quarter moon. Since we know that there is a 90 degree angle between the sun and the moon at this phase with the sun being on the right, and the moon being on the left, it can be inferred that when the sun is rising (at approximately 6am), the moon is still about 90 degrees to the left of the sun(therefore we cannot see it at 6am). But, once the sun has risen and is high in the sky (at about noon), the moon will still be about 90 degrees to the left of the sun. It will appear that the moon is “rising” at about noon. When the sun was setting (at about 6pm), the moon was “high in the sky.” And when the sun was not visible at all (when it was on the opposite side of the earth at about midnight), the moon appears to be “setting.” This was a tricky concept to grasp, but we continued filling out the chart for the rest of the phases. The students seemed a bit fuzzy on the whole picture once it was on the board, but I think they enjoyed having a concrete chart to refer to and make sense of finally.

Next, we touched on what we explored with thermal phenomena during the previous class. All of the objects were the same temperature because they are all in the same room. The atmosphere is the same temperature in the room around them, causing each of the four plates to be the same temperature. However, the metal plates felt colder. The students were puzzled as to why this was happening. Through discussion and exploration, one group of students came up with a novel idea: The metal was “stealing” the heat from your hand when you touched it, so that is why it feels colder. This “might” be what a conductor is. If an object is a good conductor, it might steal the heat from objects that are warmer that come into contact with them.

Our next activity involved using heat and temperature probes. During the previous class, some discussion about which objects would be better insulators sparked an idea for an activity that could be done. Adam gave each group of four students a styrofoam, a paper, a metal, and a plastic cup. The students poured hot water into each of the four cups. They measured the temperature as soon as the water was poured to see if they were all the same temperature. Using the probes, data was transferred about the temperature onto a computer program that showed exact units. The water was the same temperature at first, but as time passed, some of the temperatures dropped quicker than others. The students concluded that styrofoam held heat the best; therefore, it must be the best insulator.

Also, using the temperature probes, students tested how hot a cup of hot water was, and how cold a cup of cold water was. As time went by, the students observed how the temperatures of the two cups of water changed. They noticed that the cup of hot water changed faster than the cold water. This could be explained because the hot water was much hotter than the room temperature. When compared to the cold water, although colder, the cold water was closer to room temperature than the hot water was. The hot water temperature must have changed more quickly because it had more of a change to endure. Both cups of water were trying to get back to the equilibrium temperature. As the students watched the temperatures change, the process of change was slower as the cups of water got closer to room temperature. Another activity involved having the students pour two cups of different temperatured water together. The new temperature was somewhere in the middle of the two previous temperatures. The two groups presented their findings to each other and compared results.

At the end of class, as always, the students reflected on the learning processes that had occurred during class that day. We went around the room and asked each student to share what they had learned that day, and what they were still curious about. I enjoy this part of class because you get to see what makes everyone tick and how much they understood of that lesson. It is also a nice way to tie everything together and solidify the new concepts. Reflection makes you feel good about what you have done because it gets you to demonstrate verbally or in written form how far you have come, and it gets you excited for future learning!

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