Comparing Insulation


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…


Enough should be available for multiple lab groups of 3-4.


  1. Place a specified amount of ice in several plastic baggies. Seal baggies except for a small opening for the thermometer or probe.
  2. Fill the cups with specified amounts of each substance. Don’t forget your control!
  3. Place baggie in cup securely. Make sure it is surrounded as completely as possible by the substance in cup
  4. Insert thermometer into the small opening of the baggy.
  5. Record and analyze the temperature data. In which cup does the ice melt the slowest?
  6. Discuss results. How does this relate to cold-weather adaptations in animals? What other conditions need to be considered?

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