Magazine September 2013 - Page 11

I took a sandwich bag and put it on Abby’s hand and then covered it in shortening to simulate the blubber that arctic animals have on them. We started by watching the Magic School Bus in the Arctic. Arnold discovers that his cocoa is cold, he wants to know where all the hot went. Ms. Frizzle takes the class all the way to the Arctic. While they are there, the bus’s engine freezes and the bus floats away with Ralphie and Phoebe trapped inside! As the bus drifts away,the kids start to lose their body heat! How can Ms. Frizzle’s kids insulate their bodies to keep the heat in? Can they rescue their class mates before they become popsicles? We pulled out our worksheets and got to work on our experiment. I took a sandwich bag and I put it on my daughter Abby’s hand and then covered it in shortening to simulate the blubber that arctic animals have on them. We talked about what blubber was and why it was important. I had 2 bowls of ice water I had Abby dip both her hands in the bowls and see how long she could leave each one there. She pulled the bare hand out of the ice water in less than a minute, but she was able to keep the hand covered in shortening in the water much longer, in fact she probably could have kept it in there all night and never felt the cold, but she got bored and the other kids wanted a go. They each took turns with the blubber glove and were fascinated that they couldn’t feel a thing. We also filled a sandwich bag with cotton and placed it on the kids hand, then I put an ice pack on each of their hands (one protected by cotton, one without). Not surprisingly they tolerated the cold much better with the cotton insulation. The last test we did was to place our hand inside the cotton baggie and then stick it in the water to see if it would protect from the cold water as much as the blubber had. They were very surprised that even though the cotton kept them warm from the ice pack, when they were submerged in water they could feel the cold much faster than with the shortening. They came to the conclusion that fur was good for cold weather as long as you didn’t get wet. Awesome experiment and so educational, my kids know pretty much everything there is to know about blubber.