Grade 7Science

Focus: In this unit, students investigate the phenomenon of energy and its involvement in chemical reactions. The subtitle of this unit is How can use chemical reactions to design a solution to a problem? The observation of changes in energy during chemical reactions is a phenomenon that students experience when they see how flameless heating works in an MRE or an air-activated hand warmer. What reaction causes these to heat up? How much of each reactant is used to produce the desired amount of heat? How and we use this knowledge to engineer a homemade flameless heater? This unit allows students to observe phenomena in detail and start asking questions, formulating explanations, setting up and conducting activities and research, and working with classmates to analyze the shared experience and formulate new questions and developing new products using the principles of engineering design. Students explore concepts that include the following:

  • How do heaters get warm without a flame?
  • What chemical reactions can be used to heat up food?
  • How can we redesign a homemade flameless heater?
  • What is our optimum design for a homemade flameless heater?

As students move through their day-to-day activities, they will also read Core Knowledge literacy selections. These include factual articles, history of the sciences, art and literature, spotting bad science in media and advertisements, graphics comprehension, research-type articles, reliability of sources, and other areas of science literacy.

Lesson Numbers:

  • Teacher Guide: 10 Lessons
  • Student Reader: 4 Collections

Lesson time:

  • Lesson can be competed in one or more class periods.
  • A Pacing Guide, found in Online Resources, offers the suggestion that the entire unit should take about 21 days to complete if class is held each day.
  • A complete list of materials needed to complete the unit is also provided in the Online Resources.
  • The Core Knowledge Student Reader includes one reading collection per week for every week of the unit. A week’s reading collection relates to the lessons completed in the previous week.
    • The reading is assigned at the beginning of the week with the accompanying writing exercise due at the end of the week.
    • The reading and writing exercises are designed to be completed by students independently, with brief, supporting, teacher-facilitated discussions at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the week.

Additional Search Terms for the Student Reader:

• chemical reaction • energy • science literacy • skepticism • flameless heater • endothermic chemical reaction • exothermic chemical reaction • product • reactant • engineering design process • constraints • criteria • stakeholder • feedback • optimize • nonfiction • informational text

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