120–150 min.

Sensitive Delivery

  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Science
  • STEM


In this lesson, students will be presented with a real-world problem they need to solve - developing a “lunch box” package that utilizes self-heating and self-cooling technology to keep food from going bad at a local hospital. In teams, students will think through the lunch box design process from the vantage of several careers (materials scientist, packaging specialist, designer and food safety specialist). They will utilize the steps of the Engineering Design Process to brainstorm ideas, create a product prototype and make necessary refinements before ultimately presenting their product. Along the way, students will use mathematics to learn package design, understand the science behind heating and cooling and apply a variety of skills to develop a useful product.

Student Will Learn

  • 21st Century Skills
    • Collaboration
    • Critical Thinking
  • Design Principals
    • Defining the Problem
    • Designing Solutions
    • Creating or Prototyping

Content Areas

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering Design Process


  • Understand the importance and relevance of temperature-regulation and specially designed packaging materials
  • Apply knowledge of materials science and chemistry to the design of a prototype
  • Create a prototype designed to address the complex real-world issue of food safety
  • Develop an equation to determine the total amount of surface area needed to design a package

Grade Levels


Suggested Time

  • 120–150 minutes (2-3 class sessions)