This sub unit introduces basic concepts such as heating/cooling rates, energy conservation, conduction, convection, and radiation, and engineering elements such as insulation, glazing, thermal storage, and passive heating and cooling. It also aims at recalling previous learned concepts of heat, temperature and thermal equilibrium by taking into account the well known misconceptions held by students at this school level.
At the end of this sub unit, students should have a basic understanding of some physical processes, such as how heat transfer occurs between the house and the environment under different weather conditions.
Students will be involved in constructing a scale model house using a hands-on kit supplied by the teacher. They will learn to use sensors to measure the heat gain or loss and evaluate insulation. They will explore different heating and cooling factors using the tools provided and other low-cost materials on hand. For instance, a light bulb (covered by an aluminium foil) models the heather, the effects of wind can be simulated using an electric fan, and sun shining heating by using a lamp.
The sub-unit involves 3 student learning activities:
a. Activity 1.1 aimed at the construction of different kinds of house models and at evaluating the main difficulties in maintain them warm;
b. Activity 1.2 aimed at analysing the distribution of temperature inside the house model;
c. Activity 1.3 aimed at analysing the heating effects of light on the house models.
The following table characterises the three activities from the point of view of the required type of inquiry and considering 5E model of the Learning Cycle.