7 • Paralax • Goldfish

Note: Lesson Plan and worksheets in MS Word can be downloaded below.

Title: The Cryogenic Goldfish
Created by: Albrico Rossi, Ashford School, Ashford, CT

Grade Level: 7
Target Discipline:
Revision Date: 2/18/09

AE Objective and Essential Question: 
Students will build a microprocessor-controlled temperature sensor and then use it as a measurement device during a lab experiment.

How does ambient temperature affect the respiratory rate of a cold-blooded animal like a goldfish?

Before the classroom activity, a small group of students who have shown interest in the microprocessor lab will meet and build a temperature probe using the Board of Education version of the microprocessor.  This makes an excellent enrichment activity for interested students.  After the probe has been built, the small group of students will present it to the class for use in an experiment that requires the repeated measurement of temperature.

Prior Learning Required: 
Students in the enrichment group need to have basic programming skills necessary to use the Parallax editor and PBASIC programming language.  They also need basic wiring skills necessary to build a simple circuit.

The classroom students need to have the skills necessary to attach, upload software to, and operate the BOE during the experiment. 

Description of AE Lesson:
Two classes of 90 minutes.  The first class is for instruction and discussion.  The second class is for the actual experiment.

Each computer station needs to have an open Stamp Editor window with the firmware loaded into it and a Board of Education with the temperature sensor plugged into the computer. The Enrichment Students who have designed and built this unit will present it to the class and give directions on its use.

Students are asked the AE question stated above and possible answers are discussed.  They are told that each lab group will get a goldfish that has been kept at room temperature for their experiment.   The teacher explains to the class that they will use the STAMP temperature sensor to monitor its body temperature while they use ice to lower the temperature 1 to 2 degrees at a time.  Each time they lower the goldfish’s temperature, they will record its respiratory rate. 

Skill Development: 
After students understand the basic experiment, they will use their lab setup to conduct the experiment and record data concerning the goldfish’s body temperature and its corresponding respiratory rate.  When the data is collected, they use their data table to create a graph and make conclusion about their data.

Evidence of Understanding: 
Students are required to make conclusions based on their data and their hypothesis.  When they write their conclusions, they must back up their conclusions with evidence provided by their data.

Resources needed: 
1 Computer with loaded with Parallax editor software for every 4 students
Board of Education version of microprocessor
500 ml beaker
plastic spoon

BS2 Firmware:
Need to provide firmware.

This activity starts with an enrichment activity that is used later in the lesson by the whole class.  Student can also extend this by building other sensors with the same idea in mind for other experiments.  Students who are working at lower ability levels can be teamed up with students who are well versed in the operation of the microprocessors and the lab procedures.  ELL students can work with other students as well and can be graded with a different, more appropriate, rubric when assessing their understanding.

State Standards:
ScienceFramework standards:

7.2 - Many organisms, including humans, have specialized organ systems that interact with each other to maintain dynamic internal balance.
CINQ.3 Design and conduct appropriate types of scientific investigations to answer different questions.
CINQ.5 Use appropriate tools and techniques to make observations and gather data.
CINQ.6  Use mathematical operations to analyze and interpret data.

Technology Standards: ISTE

4.  Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Decision-Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.  Students:
a. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
c. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.  Students:
a. understand and use technology systems.
b. select and use applications effectively and productively.