Students will test the insulative properties of various materials to determine the effectiveness of blubber for marine mammals in cold water.
The students will be able to…
- …describe the physical properties of various substances.
- …compare and contrast the amount of heat loss for various substances.
- …evaluate the effectiveness of insulative materials.
Enough should be available for multiple lab groups of 3-4.
- Thermometers or other temperature probes
- Small plastic baggies
- Small cups or other containers
- Various materials: lard or other easily obtainable animal fat, cotton, Styrofoam, plastic, wool, feathers, fur
- Place a specified amount of ice in several plastic baggies. Seal baggies except for a small opening for the thermometer or probe.
- Fill the cups with specified amounts of each substance. Don’t forget your control!
- Place baggie in cup securely. Make sure it is surrounded as completely as possible by the substance in cup
- Insert thermometer into the small opening of the baggy.
- Record and analyze the temperature data. In which cup does the ice melt the slowest?
- Discuss results. How does this relate to cold-weather adaptations in animals? What other conditions need to be considered?
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