Education Technology

Building the Best Thermos

Activity Overview

Building the Best Thermos is a project-based STEM activity that will engage your students in the engineering design process while using TI-Nspire™ technology.


  • Students will research science topics including:
    • Heat and temperature change
    • Thermal insulators
    • Cooling rate
  • Students will use mathematical processes of:
    • Graphing
    • Linear equation modeling
    • Regression analysis
    • Data analysis


  • Thermal insulator
  • Temperature
  • Heat
  • Cooling rate

About the Lesson

Your company designs and manufactures extreme outdoor clothing and equipment. Your project manager wants you to investigate insulation materials that can be used to design new products for the company. The insulation material that you recommend will be used in containers to keep food hot or cold and for cold weather sleeping bags and clothing. Your task is to determine the best insulation material for the products and to support your conclusion with test data.

As a result, students will:

  • Students will engineer and build a simple thermos that will keep an object warm when submerged in an ice bath.
  • Students will use appropriate technology to evaluate their design, collaborate with colleagues and present their findings.