Curriculum

How Can We Stay Cool in the Sun?

How Can We Stay Cool in the Sun?

How Can We Stay Cool in the Sun?  is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is designed to address a bundle of kindergarten engineering and physical science standards. In this module, students:

  • Plan and carry out an investigation to explain how a playground surface may have become too hot to play on
  • Research existing solutions to similar problems and analyze the shapes of these structures to inform their own designs
  • Design, build, and test model shade devices that could solve the problem
  • Obtain information about how engineers solve problems and compare the process to how the students approached the playground problem
  • Research, design, build, and compare portable shade devices as possible solutions to a new problem

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.

Lesson 1: What’s the Problem?

Family Letter
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Before starting How Can We Stay Cool in the Sun? share the Family Letter with students’ caregivers. Indicate how they should submit responses to the letter.

Ada Asks Introduction (1:01)
Ada introduces students to the themes of the module and the problem they will solve throughout the first seven lessons: A playground surface is too warm for children to play on during recess. Closed captioning is available in the YouTube version by clicking the “CC” icon.

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Suggested pause:
Why do you think that happened?: (0:29)

Hot Playground
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This playground picture from the Ada Asks Introduction video is used during class discussion.

Lesson 2: Warmer or Colder?

Which Is Warmer
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This file of images is used during discussion throughout the lesson.

Lesson 3: Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot!

Hot Hot Hot
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This file is displayed throughout the lesson to provide discussion prompts and investigation guidance.

Lesson 5: Picking Parts

Sunshade Examples
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This file includes pictures of shade device models built with materials available in the kit.

Materials Planning
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This file is used to scaffold student use of their notebook sheets..

Lesson 6: Design a Shade

Tami's Tower
https://ssec.si.edu/tamis-tower
In this game, students have to build a tower to help Tami, the golden tamarin, reach the fruit. Tami’s Tower is available online and as a mobile app. It is also available in Spanish.

Lesson 7: Are You Keeping It Cool?

Testing Devices
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This copy of the Lesson 7 Activity Sheet is projected during class discussion prior to device testing.

Lesson 8: Carrying the Shade - Part 1

Ada Asks Design Challenge (1:10)
Ada introduces students to the design challenge. They will design and build a portable shade device. Closed captioning is available in the YouTube version by clicking the “CC” icon.

Watch on YouTube


or Download Video

Suggested pauses:
Which do you think will solve my playground problem? (0:09)
How would an engineer solve this problem? (0:40)

Kit Tips & Tricks