Ideas for integrated STEM projects that align to the ACARA science understandings.
Insulated Space Suits
ACARA Science Alignment: Physical Sciences – Energy transfer through different mediums can be explained using wave and particle models (ACSSU182 – Scootle )
Suggested Year Level: Year 9
Project: Students work in groups to design, perform and report on an experiment investigating insulation and heat transfer. Students apply their experimental findings, in collaboration with other research collected by the class, to suggest the best thickness, material, colour etc of a highly insulating space suit.
If humans travel to Mars in the future, we will need good insulation in their space suits to survive the cold temperatures on Mars (https://www.space.com/16907-what-is-the-temperature-of-mars.html)
STEM links: boost the connections with different disciplines by
· Maths – have students record temperature over time and graph using software, then finding equations of best fit.
· Science –Use scientific inquiry to design and perform a fair test that alters one factor (e.g. thickness of insulation, type of insulating material, colour of insulation) in the design and determines the effect on temperature stability (i.e. insulation). Students could use dry ice or liquid nitrogen (or just ice cubes) to simulate the coldness experienced on an average day on Mars to test their insulating materials (cloth, newspaper, craft polyfill, house insulation, cotton wool, packing peanuts, alfoil etc). Students could present their individual experimental findings on a scientific poster, which gets presented and shared with the class in a display so students can collaborate and learn from each other’s fair tests.
· Technology – have students use probes or temperature sensors to record and measure the temperature over time
· English – have students write scientific papers/posters/journals to share their experimental findings in the specific writing format: scientific writing.
· Art/Design/Fashion – students could design and construct a life size space suit using insulating materials and showcase in a fashion show.
We’d love to hear from you if you explore insulated space suits in your class, or if you have other ideas or feedback on how to use this Build Your Own STEM Adventure. Good luck!