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Infant Incubator

Storyline Overview

How does the matter around me behave and interact?   

The chemistry storyline begins with students viewing world maps depicting both infant prematurity and infant mortality. The students will generate questions to better understand why there is a disparity in the number of preterm births and infant death in different countries. The students will identify that preterm babies need to be kept warm in incubators in order to survive. The students will generate and answer questions in order to define terms such as heat, temperature, and chemical reactions. The students will identify that chemical reactions can be used to generate heat by observing an elephant toothpaste reaction. In their quest to better understand and explain what happens when chemicals combine, students ask questions about lesson phenomenon and develop investigations about, chemical reactions, solutions, water, and more to answer their questions.  By designing and conducting experiments, and then collecting and analyzing data from those experiments, students address a variety of math standards.  Students also address a range of ELA standards by planning and conducting experiments as well as providing written and oral explanations of experiment outcomes. Each lesson builds upon the understandings gained and questions developed during the previous lesson.  At the end of the unit, students are challenged to use all of their newly acquired knowledge of chemical interactions to solve an engineering challenge based on the real world problem of harnessing chemical energy to create an incubator for preterm infants.

Teaching science using a storyline provides a coherent path toward building disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts, piece by piece, anchored in students' own questions. Together, what students figure out helps explain the unit's phenomena or solve the problems they have identified.

Summary of curriculum

Storylining Chemical Reactions

Performance Expectations

  • MS-PS1-1 Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures. 
  • MS-PS1-2  Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical  reaction has occurred.
  • MS-PS1-4 Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed. 
  • MS-PS1-5  Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
  • MS-PS1-6 Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
  • MS-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. 
  • MS-ETS1-2  Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem. 
  • MS-ETS1-3 Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success. 
  • MS-ETS1-4 Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved. 
  • MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

Lesson Plans

See links below for lesson plans for this module.

Lesson 1: Preterm Infant Problem

Lesson 2: What do we know about babies?

Lesson 3: How is heat produced?

Lesson 4: What happens when chemicals combine?

Lesson 5: What patterns are present when a chemical reaction occurs?

Lesson 6: How can we investigate if the same atoms at the beginning of the reaction are there at the end?

Lesson 7: What happened to the chemicals when they combined?

Mid-Unit Assessment

Lesson 8:  How can we produce heat?

Lesson 9:  What chemical ratios can we use to produce the most heat?

Lesson 10: How does heat move?

Lesson 11: How does temperature affect particle motion?

Lesson 12: How does thermal equilibrium impact incubators?

Lesson 13: What are the requirements for our project?

Lesson 14: What materials will work best to build the incubator?

Lesson 15: How will we design/build the incubator?

Lesson 16: Can we build it?

Lesson 17: What needs to be changed about our design?

Lesson 18: How can we maintain consistent heat?

Lesson 19: Which type of heat source remains most constant?

Lesson 20: How can we improve our design plan?

Lesson 21: How effective was our plan?

Lesson 22: How did our prototype perform?

Post Unit Assessment