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  • OpenSciEd
6.2 Thermal Energy - Unit Overview
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This unit on thermal energy transfer begins with students testing whether a new plastic cup sold by a store keeps a drink colder for longer compared to the regular plastic cup that comes free with the drink. Students find that the drink in the regular cup warms up more than the drink in the special cup. This prompts students to identify features of the cups that are different, such as the lid, walls, and hole for the straw, that might explain why one drink warms up more than the other.

Students investigate the different cup features they conjecture are important to explaining the phenomenon, starting with the lid. They model how matter can enter or exit the cup via evaporation However, they find that in a completely closed system, the liquid inside the cup still changes temperature. This motivates the need to trace the transfer of energy into the drink as it warms up. Through a series of lab investigations and simulations, students find that there are two ways to transfer energy into the drink: (1) the absorption of light and (2) thermal energy from the warmer air around the drink. They are then challenged to design their own drink container that can perform as well as the store-bought container, following a set of design criteria and constraints.

See the OpenSciEd Instructional Model also: https://www.openscied.org/openscied-instructional-model/

Subject:
Science
Force/Motion/Energy
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
6.3 Weather, Climate & Water Cycling - Unit Overview
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This unit on weather, climate, and water cycling is broken into four separate lesson sets. In the first two lesson sets, students explain small-scale storms. In the third and fourth lesson sets, students explain mesoscale weather systems and climate-level patterns of precipitation. Each of these two parts of the unit is grounded in a different anchoring phenomenon.

The unit starts out with anchoring students in the exploration of a series of videos of hailstorms from different locations across the country at different times of the year. The videos show that pieces of ice of different sizes (some very large) are falling out of the sky, sometimes accompanied by rain and wind gusts, all on days when the temperature of the air outside remained above freezing for the entire day. These cases spark questions and ideas for investigations, such as investigating how ice can be falling from the sky on a warm day, how clouds form, why some clouds produce storms with large amounts of precipitation and others don?t, and how all that water gets into the air in the first place.

The second half of the unit is anchored in the exploration of a weather report of a winter storm that affected large portions of the midwestern United States. The maps, transcripts, and video that students analyze show them that the storm was forecasted to produce large amounts of snow and ice accumulation in large portions of the northeastern part of the country within the next day. This case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out what could be causing such a large-scale storm and why it would end up affecting a different part of the country a day later.

See the OpenSciEd Instructional Model also: https://www.openscied.org/openscied-instructional-model/

Subject:
Science
Earth and Space Systems
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
7.3 Metabolic Reactions - Unit Overview
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This unit on metabolic reactions in the human body starts out with students exploring a real case study of a middle-school girl named M?Kenna, who reported some alarming symptoms to her doctor. Her symptoms included an inability to concentrate, headaches, stomach issues when she eats, and a lack of energy for everyday activities and sports that she used to play regularly. She also reported noticeable weight loss over the past few months, in spite of consuming what appeared to be a healthy diet. Her case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out which pathways and processes in M?Kenna?s body might be functioning differently than a healthy system and why.

Students investigate data specific to M?Kenna?s case in the form of doctor?s notes, endoscopy images and reports, growth charts, and micrographs. They also draw from their results from laboratory experiments on the chemical changes involving the processing of food and from digital interactives to explore how food is transported, transformed, stored, and used across different body systems in all people. Through this work of figuring out what is causing M?Kenna?s symptoms, the class discovers what happens to the food we eat after it enters our bodies and how M?Kenna?s different symptoms are connected.

See the OpenSciEd Instructional Model also: https://www.openscied.org/openscied-instructional-model/

Subject:
Science
Living Systems and Processes
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
7.4 Matter Cycling & Photosynthesis - Unit Overview
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This unit on matter cycling and photosynthesis begins with students reflecting on what they ate for breakfast. Students are prompted to consider where their food comes from and consider which breakfast items might be from plants. Then students taste a common breakfast food, maple syrup, and see that according to the label, it is 100% from a tree.

Based on the preceding unit, students argue that they know what happens to the sugar in syrup when they consume it. It is absorbed into the circulatory system and transported to cells in their body to be used for fuel. Students explore what else is in food and discover that food from plants, like bananas, peanut butter, beans, avocado, and almonds, not only have sugars but proteins and fats as well. This discovery leads them to wonder how plants are getting these food molecules and where a plant?s food comes from.

Students figure out that they can trace all food back to plants, including processed and synthetic food. They obtain and communicate information to explain how matter gets from living things that have died back into the system through processes done by decomposers. Students finally explain that the pieces of their food are constantly recycled between living and nonliving parts of a system.

See the OpenSciEd Instructional Model also: https://www.openscied.org/openscied-instructional-model/

Subject:
Science
Living Systems and Processes
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
8.2 Sound Waves - Unit Overview
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In this unit, students develop ideas related to how sounds are produced, how they travel through media, and how they affect objects at a distance. Their investigations are motivated by trying to account for a perplexing anchoring phenomenon ? a truck is playing loud music in a parking lot and the windows of a building across the parking lot visibly shake in response to the music.

They make observations of sound sources to revisit the K?5 idea that objects vibrate when they make sounds. They figure out that patterns of differences in those vibrations are tied to differences in characteristics of the sounds being made. They gather data on how objects vibrate when making different sounds to characterize how a vibrating object?s motion is tied to the loudness and pitch of the sounds they make. Students also conduct experiments to support the idea that sound needs matter to travel through, and they will use models and simulations to explain how sound travels through matter at the particle level.

See the OpenSciEd Instructional Model also: https://www.openscied.org/openscied-instructional-model/

Subject:
Science
Force/Motion/Energy
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
8.3 Forces at a Distance - Unit Overview
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This unit launches with a slow-motion video of a speaker as it plays music. In the previous unit, students developed a model of sound. This unit allows students to investigate the cause of a speaker?s vibration in addition to the effect.

Students dissect speakers to explore the inner workings, and engineer homemade cup speakers to manipulate the parts of the speaker. They identify that most speakers have the same parts?a magnet, a coil of wire, and a membrane. Students investigate each of these parts to figure out how they work together in the speaker system. Along the way, students manipulate the components (e.g. changing the strength of the magnet, number of coils, direction of current) to see how this technology can be modified and applied to a variety of contexts, like MagLev trains, junkyard magnets, and electric motors.

See the OpenSciEd Instructional Model also: https://www.openscied.org/openscied-instructional-model/

Subject:
Science
Force/Motion/Energy
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
Access the Professional Learning Materials
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To support key instructional shifts in the Next Generation Science Standards, we have developed professional learning materials to accompany the instructional materials. These materials take into consideration important findings of best practices in supporting teacher learning (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2015; National Research Council, 2015). All OpenSciEd materials are open educational resources (OER) licensed to be free for anyone to use, share, redistribute, adapt, transform, and build upon for any purpose, even commercially.

Subject:
Science
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
OpenSciEd Instructional Model
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To help teachers and students advance through the content of a unit, OpenSciEd takes advantage of routines?activities that play specific roles in advancing the storyline through the content with structures to help students achieve the objectives of those activities.

How and where the routines are found will vary somewhat across the units in OpenSciEd, but these routines typically follow a pattern as students kick off a unit of study, investigate different questions they have, put the pieces together from those investigations, and then problematize the next set of questions to investigate.

Subject:
Science
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
Simulation Library
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The simulations in this library are used as part of the OpenSciEd units. For information about how to utilize each simulation with students, visit the teacher edition for the associated unit. The Scope and Sequence page has information about the specific standards addressed in each of the grade levels and units.

Subject:
Science
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020
Video Library
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All of the videos associated with the OpenSciEd units can be found on our YouTube Channel and on this page. The student-facing videos are intended to be shown to students as part of the unit while the teacher preparation videos provide information to teachers regarding the set up of laboratory investigations and other features of the instructional materials.

Subject:
Science
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
OpenSciEd
Date Added:
03/20/2020