RUMFORD – Seventh-grade science students at Mountain Valley Middle School were recently visited by Tom Puiia, owner of Puiia’s Lumber in Mexico. Puiia shared samples of the types of home insulation and explained how insulation today comes in systems rather than just one type.

The students have been working on the Maine Learning Results Standard H “Energy” Part 3 “Compare and contrast the ways energy travels (e.g. waves, conduction, convection, and radiation).”

The students worked out of their science textbooks to find the ways that heat transfer occurs (radiation, conduction and convection). Next they observed several demonstrations of heat transfer to see firsthand how heat is transferred from one object to another. From there the students logged onto their laptop computers and searched Web sites related to heat transfer and how insulation works to slow heat transfer.

Once the students had a working understanding of heat transfer and how insulation works to restrict it, they were assigned a project requiring them to build a virtual “Cabin in the Woods” using the Appleworks drawing program on their laptops.

They had to refer back to their research on the internet and utilize one of the interactive sites to find out what insulation R-values they would need in order to insulate their cabin in this climate.

They also had to use two sources of heat to keep their cabin warm this winter and to explain and illustrate how the heat sources transferred heat to their cabin’s interior in their drawing.

Puiia’s visit allowed the students to learn and see the numerous types of insulation that they had learned about while designing and “building” their cabins.

The students then shared their computer cabin designs with the rest of the class by connecting their laptops to a projector.

Seventh-grade science teachers John Wallace and Lindsay MacMillan develop and plan their science lessons together to make sure both teams cover the same science curriculum standards.

Wallace said, “Ms. MacMillan and I use multiple teaching strategies to meet the needs of the many different learning styles of our students. We also try to tie the curriculum standards to the students’ everyday life so they learn how to apply what they learn in school and put it to practical use.”

Wallace said, “We are very fortunate to have members of the local business community like Tom Puiia who are willing to share their knowledge with our students.”

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