OpenSciEd: 7.2 Chemical Reactions and Energy 1-Class Unit Kit


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Grades 6–8. In Unit 7.2 Chemical Reactions and Energy, Carolina Certified Version*, students work to answer the Unit Driving Question: "How can we use chemical reactions to design a solution to a problem?"

The unit begins with students thinking about how they would heat up food without having typical methods available. Then they see images from a real situation, after Superstorm Sandy in New York, during which people were given Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) that can be heated by just adding water. The class explores the MRE's flameless heater, which seems like some kind of chemical process or possibly a chemical reaction. Students develop an initial model to consider how a flameless heater works, but they also notice some problems with prepackaged MREs. To solve some of the identified problems, the class decides to help people in situations in which typical food heating methods aren't available�they design a homemade flameless heater with instructions that others could follow. After brainstorming criteria and constraints, students individually attempt to create designs for a homemade flameless heater and compare designs with classmates. Issues that arise during the design comparison motivate the class to build a Design Questions Board and gather ideas for investigations that will guide their work to create a successful homemade flameless heater. The first lesson set focuses on defining and refining the design problem. Students do investigations to gather data about which chemical process might work best in their homemade heater designs. Then, they step back to think about the work they've been doing as engineers and realize that their design work so far can be put into three categories: Define, Develop Solutions, and Optimize. At the end of this lesson set, students come back to refine their criteria and constraints. In the second lesson set, students shift their focus to really dig into their design solutions. They investigate how much food and reactants they should include in their homemade heater designs and go through a series of iterative steps developing, testing, and modifying their designs based on peer feedback and collected data.

Through their investigations, students:

  • Analyze data to determine patterns in the relationship between the total amount of food they can heat and the amount of energy that is transferred from the chemical reaction to the food system.
  • Undertake a design project to construct and test a solution that meets specific design criteria and constraints, including the transfer of energy.
  • Respectfully provide and receive critiques about design solutions with respect to how they meet criteria and constraints and consider patterns across multiple designs to determine which design characteristics cause more effective outcomes in performance.
  • Optimize performance of a design that transfers energy through a system by prioritizing criteria, making trade-offs, testing, revising, and retesting.

This 1-Class Unit Kit comes with basic teacher access to instructional materials on, plus the materials needed to teach 1 class of 32 students per day.

Building Toward NGSS Performance Expectations

  • MS-PS1-6: Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
  • MS-ETS1-2: Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • MS-ETS1-3: Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
  • MS-ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Focal Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS1.B
  • EST1.B
  • EST1.C

Focal Crosscutting Concepts

  • Systems and System Models
  • Matter and Energy

*All enhancements to materials and instruction for this Carolina Certified Version of the unit are approved by OpenSciEd to preserve the integrity of the storyline and the instructional model.


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What’s Included:
  •  Unit Technology Pack (basic digital access to teacher's guide and all instructional resources for the teacher)
  •  Containers, Round, 16 oz, with Lids
  •  Funnels
  •  Pitcher, 4 qt
  •  Spoons, Plastic
  •  Trays, Plastic, 14 x 18"
  •  Aluminum Foil
  •  Bags, Plastic, Resealable, 6 x 9"
  •  Bags, Plastic, Resealable, 9 x 12"
  •  Baking Soda
  •  Cabbage Juice Powder
  •  Coffee Filters
  •  Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate
  •  Cups, Plastic, 2-1/2 oz, with Lids
  •  Cups, Styrofoam®, 8 oz, with Lids
  •  Flameless Heaters
  •  Hand Warmers
  •  Note Pads, Self-Adhesive, Medium
  •  Paper, Construction, Colored
  •  Paper, Waxed
  •  Prepackaged MRE
  •  Rubber Bands
  •  Salt
  •  Steel Wool
  •  Sticker Dots
  •  Vinegar
  •  Water Beads
Needed But Not Included:
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.