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Carolina STEM Challenge®: Keep It Hot

$9.95 - $81.70

Product Highlights

  • Explore energy transfer, specific heat, heat capacity, temperature, and insulation while designing a device that limits heat transfer.
  • High school engineering design challenge with enough materials to support 15 teams.
  • Carolina Kits 3D® — Lab activity that designs a solution for an engineering problem to support the NGSS and 3-dimensional instruction.

3 Product Options


Students apply their knowledge of heat and heat transfer to solve this engineering problem, “How can we design a device that minimizes heat transfer better than a foam cup?” Students initially research the relevant scientific concepts and then construct a prototype. During the prototyping activity, students evaluate the insulating properties of paper and foam cups, using their data and graphs. Design teams then apply their skills, prior knowledge, and available materials to engineer a system in which a paper cup can be made to insulate as well as, or better than, a foam cup. Testing, data collection, and analysis drive the design process. Students then present their design and test results to their peers.

Time Requirement
Total, 255 minutes. Teacher prep, 15 minutes. Research and prototyping, 90 minutes. Design challenge, 60 minutes. Assessment and presentation, 90 minutes.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectations

Crosscutting Concepts
Energy and Matter

Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

Science and Engineering Practices
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Learning Objectives

  • Describe how heat energy is conserved as it moves from a system to its surroundings.
  • Explain that heat flows from a warmer area to a cooler area, toward equilibrium.
  • Apply science concepts to design a solution to an engineering problem.
  • Calculate the amount of heat transferred from a given mass of hot water using temperature change, mass, and specific heat.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Students should be familiar with heat transfer between objects and from a system to the surroundings; the concept of equilibrium, especially in reference to heat transfer; and the way properties of the materials in the system, such as specific heat, affect the rate at which heat is transferred.




Questions & Answers