A problem of insulation
In groups of four, you will compete against each other in a challenge. You will build an insulated container where you will place a thermometer capable of measuring max/min temperatures. The thermometer will be set to zero at the start.
You will win the challenge if your container is enough insulated that your thermometer is the one showing the highest min-temperature after spending 2 hours outside.
You are only allowed to use leftover building material. The container can be no larger than 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 m.
You shall also:
- Make a drawing of your design and write about why you think your design is the one that will win the challenge.
- Describe the process that made you come up with the design.
You will be given lecture time in order to plan, build and describe the container. The test will
also take place during lecture time.
The assignment is originally intended for vocational students but can easily be adjusted to suit students from any background. The time allowed for completing the assignment can be adjusted to the student. Its purpose is three-fold:
- to draw attention to the (scientific) process of solving a problem
- to focus on the sustainable use of materials
- and to get the students thinking about energy use
Building materials can be almost anything imaginable: wood, plastic, cans, fabric, paper, Styrofoam and corrugated cardboard.
If possible, the thermometer can be replaced with a temperature logger in order to include a discussion on and visualize the rate of temperature decrease depending on the construction.
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